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Plane stolen by 'suicidal' employee crashes near Seattle

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SEATAC, Wash. — A “suicidal” airline employee stole an empty Horizon Air turboprop plane, took off from Sea-Tac International Airport and was chased by military jets before crashing into a small island in the Puget Sound on Friday night, officials said.

Preliminary information suggests the crash occurred because the 29-year-old man was “doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills,” the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said.

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Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, said on Twitter the man was suicidal and there was no connection to terrorism.

Video showed the Horizon Air Q400 doing large loops and other dangerous manoeuvrs as the sun set on the Puget Sound. There were no passengers aboard. Authorities initially said the man was a mechanic but Alaska Airlines later said he was believed to be a ground service agent employed by Horizon. Those employees direct aircraft for takeoff and gate approach and de-ice planes.

Witnesses reported seeing the plane being chased by military aircraft before it crashed on Ketron Island, southwest of Tacoma, Washington. Troyer said F-15 aircraft scrambled out of Portland, Oregon, and were in the air “within a few minutes” and the pilots kept “people on the ground safe.”

The sheriff’s department said they were working to conduct a background investigation on the Pierce County resident, whose name was not immediately released.

The aircraft was stolen about 8 p.m. Alaska Airlines said it was in a “maintenance position” and not scheduled for a passenger flight. Horizon Air is part of Alaska Air Group and flies shorter routes throughout the U.S. West. The Q400 is a turboprop aircraft with 76 seats.

Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said the man “did something foolish and may well have paid with his life.”

The man could be heard on audio recordings telling air traffic controllers that he is “just a broken guy.”

An air traffic controller called the man “Rich,” and tried to convince the man to land the airplane.

“There is a runway just off to your right side in about a mile,” the controller says, reffering to an airfield at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

“Oh man. Those guys will rough me up if I try and land there,” the man responded, lateer adding “This is probably jail time for life, huh?”

Later the man said: “I’ve got a lot of people that care about me. It’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this…Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess.”

Flights out of Sea-Tac, the largest commercial airport in the Pacific Northwest, were temporarily grounded during the drama.

The U.S. Coast Guard sent a 45-foot (14-meter) vessel to the crash scene after witnesses reported seeing a large plume of smoke in the air, Petty Officer Ali Flockerzi said. Video showed fiery flames amidst trees on the island, which is sparsely populated and only accessible by ferry.

Alaska Airlines said no structures on the ground were damaged.

Royal King told The Seattle Times he was photographing a wedding when he saw the low-flying turboprop being chased by two F-15s. He said he didn’t see the crash but saw smoke.

“It was unfathomable, it was something out of a movie,” he told the newspaper. “The smoke lingered. You could still hear the F-15s, which were flying low.”

“Our hearts are with the family of the individual aboard, along with all of our Alaska Air and Horizon Air employees,” Horizon Air Chief Operating Officer Constance von Muehlen said in a video posted on Twitter.

Spokesmen for the Transportation Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Aviation Administration directed inquiries to local authorities.

Gov. Jay Inslee thanked the Air National Guard from Washington and Oregon for scrambling jets and said in a statement “there are still a lot of unknowns surrounding tonight’s tragic incident.”

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Balsamo reported from Los Angeles. AP journalist Michelle A. Monroe in Phoenix contributed to this report.

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RCMP in Burnaby, BC, say Kinder Morgan protest camp to be dismantled today

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BURNABY, B.C. — RCMP say they will enforce a court injunction today and remove Trans Mountain pipeline protesters who have been camped outside a Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Police in Burnaby say in a release that large structures at the protest camp, known as Camp Cloud, will be dismantled and the area cleaned up.

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The release says police do not expect what they call violence or disorder while the injunction is being enforced.

Protesters said Monday that several members were prepared to protect a sacred fire that’s been burning around the clock at the site, although the injunction specifically says it should be extinguished due to dry conditions.

The camp has grown since November from a single trailer to include a two-storey wooden structure, a cabin, an outdoor shower, more than a dozen tents and multiple vehicles and trailers.

On Friday, a B.C. Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction ordering protesters to remove all structures, shelters and vehicles from the site outside a Kinder Morgan tank farm within 48 hours, but that deadline passed on Sunday.

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Burnaby RCMP arrest anti-pipeline demonstrators at Camp Cloud

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Burnaby RCMP moved in to enforce the injunction to remove the pipeline protesters on Burnaby Mountain on Thursday morning.

About five people have been arrested.

The demonstrators have been camped out on Burnaby Mountain for weeks, despite a court order to take down “Camp Cloud” by Sunday night.

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On Friday, a B.C. Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction to remove the pipeline protest camp outside one of Kinder Morgan’s terminals.


READ MORE:
Kinder Morgan demonstrators ignore deadline to take down Camp Cloud

Burnaby RCMP say they have been monitoring the protest camp, located at the intersection of Underhill Avenue and Shellmont Street, adding officers have maintained a dialogue with the residents of the camp in the hopes they would obey the injunction.

“The plan is to stand our ground,” Camp Cloud resident George Manuel Jr. told Global News Monday. “We haven’t changed our tone. We are a peaceful group here.”

Burnaby RCMP say they are not expecting any violence or disorder during the injunction enforcement period but the public may see more equipment from the City of Burnaby and Burnaby RCMP removing the structures at the camp.

Photos of Camp Cloud and a second smaller camp nearby:

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Bell Media gets Viceland

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Bell Media has signed a new long-term agreement that will see it become the exclusive Canadian broadcaster for new programming from Vice Media network Viceland.

Financial terms of the deal were not immediately available.

The companies say the shows will debut on multiple Bell Media platforms, including CraveTV, in the fall.

They say new Vice shows will exclusively air on television on Bell Media channels, while it has also acquired the rights to more than 650 hours of Vice library programming.

Bell Media and Vice will also explore co-production opportunities.

The deal follows the end of a deal between Rogers Media Inc. and Vice earlier this year.

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