Information on Horizon Air Incident

Update: 10:15 a.m. on Nov. 9, 2018
Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air appreciate the thorough investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) into the incident on Aug. 10, 2018. The FBI found this was an isolated, unanticipated incident by one individual.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) investigated the incident separately and determined there are no violations of security regulations by Horizon Air.

“This incident was a very difficult moment for us and many others. We remain grateful to everyone who offered support to our employees, the family of the deceased employee and the communities that were impacted,” said Gary Beck, Horizon Air president and CEO. “We also want to once again thank the FBI, TSA, National Transportation Safety Board and first responders for their tremendous assistance in the wake of the incident.”

Ensuring the safety of our guests and employees is our most important responsibility. We’re working with our industry partners, governmental authorities and other subject matter experts to review pertinent security protocols, and determine where there may be opportunities to make enhancements as we move forward.

More information:

Update: 1:15 p.m. on Aug. 11, 2018
View today’s press conference with our CEO, Brad Tilden, Horizon Air CEO, Gary Beck, the FBI and the Port of Seattle.

  • All of us at Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air are saddened by last night’s unauthorized flight of a Horizon Q400 aircraft that resulted in the loss of life of the individual involved.
  • Our top priority is the safety of our guests and employees. Simply put there is nothing more important to us.
  • We are working closely with the FBI, the NTSB and the FAA to better understand the circumstances of this unauthorized flight. The FBI is the lead investigator for this incident.
  • Yesterday’s events will push us to learn what we can from this tragedy so that we can help prevent it from happening again at our airline or any other.

There are no further updates planned at this time.

The toll-free number for anyone who believes they may know the person involved in the incident is 1-888-283-2153.

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Update: 10:58 a.m. on Aug. 11, 2018 – PRESS CONFERENCE
Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden and Horizon Air CEO Gary Beck are addressing media at a press conference. Representatives from the Port of Seattle and FBI will be available to answer questions. For live updates, follow @AlaskaAir on Twitter.

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Update: 1:20 a.m. on Aug. 11, 2018 – A STATEMENT FROM ALASKA AIR GROUP CEO BRAD TILDEN AND HORIZON AIR CEO GARY BECK

Brad Tilden: “There was an incident late yesterday involving the unauthorized operation of one of our aircraft that took off from Sea-Tac around 8 p.m.

“We are still gathering facts, but at this point we understand there was only one person aboard, an employee of Horizon Air, who was operating the aircraft. I want to share how incredibly sad all of us at Alaska are about this incident. Our heart is heavy for the family and friends of the person involved.

“We’re working to find out everything we possibly can about what happened, working with the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Transportation Safety Board. We are giving those investigators our full support and cooperation.

“With these investigations underway, our focus will remain on supporting the family of the individual involved, the broader Alaska and Horizon family, and our communities and guests.

“We will keep the public updated on our blog, where we’ll post updates as information becomes available.”

Brad Tilden

CEO, Alaska Air Group

Gary Beck: “I want to echo what Brad said about how incredibly sad all of us are about what happened last night.

“Our first priority is always the safety and care of our people and guests. Our hearts are with all of our employees at Horizon Air, and the larger Alaska Airlines community, and the family of the individual involved.

“The Horizon Air Q400, which was taken from Sea-Tac International Airport, was not scheduled to fly at the time of the incident. While we have not yet confirmed the identity of the employee, we have confirmed that all crew and passengers are accounted for. Air Traffic Control was in contact with the individual during the brief flight before it crashed on Ketron Island about an hour after it left Sea-Tac. No ground structures were involved in the crash.

“We are working closely with the authorities and our own safety teams to thoroughly understand this incident.

“I want to thank the employees of Horizon Air and our guests. Our primary objective is to do everything possible to support all of you.”

Gary Beck, President and CEO, Horizon Air

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Update: 12:15 a.m. on Aug. 11, 2018
A toll-free hotline has been established for anyone who believes they may know the person involved in the Horizon Air incident. The number is 1-888-283-2153.

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Update: 11:54 p.m. on Aug. 10, 2018
Alaska Airlines believes a ground service agent employed by Horizon Air was the individual responsible for flying the Horizon Q400 without clearance from Sea-Tac International Airport around 8 p.m. tonight.

The plane, which was taken from a maintenance position and was not scheduled for passenger flight, crashed about an hour later in a wooded area on Ketron Island in rural Pierce County. No ground structures were involved at the crash site.

Military jets were scrambled from Portland, but it does not appear that these jets were involved in the crash of the Horizon aircraft.

This individual who took the aircraft, who has not yet been positively identified until remains are examined, is believed to have been the only person on the plane when the plane was taken from a maintenance position at Sea-Tac.

First responders are at the crash site. Appropriate government agencies, including NTSB, FAA and FBI, have been notified.

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Update: 10:55 p.m. on Aug. 10, 2018
A brief statement from Constance von Muehlen of Horizon Air regarding tonight’s incident:

“Good evening, I’m Constance von Muehlen, Horizon Air chief operating officer. I’m sorry to share with you this evening that at approximately 8 p.m., one of our Q400 airplanes made an unauthorized takeoff from Sea-Tac Airport. We believe it was taken by a single Horizon Air employee and that no other passengers or crew were onboard. Shortly thereafter, it crashed on Ketron Island by South Tacoma. Our hearts are with the families of the individual aboard as well as all of our Alaska Air and Horizon Air employees. We will provide more information as it becomes available.”

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Update: 10 p.m. on Aug. 10, 2018 
Alaska Airlines has confirmed that a Horizon Airlines Q400 that had an unauthorized takeoff from Sea-Tac International Airport around 8 p.m. has gone down near Ketron Island in Pierce County.
Alaska is working to confirm who was on board, but it is believed that there were no passengers or crew on board other than the person operating the plane. NTSB has been notified.

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Original post: 9:32 p.m. on Aug. 10, 2018
We are aware of an incident involving an unauthorized take-off of a Horizon Air Q400. We believe there are no passengers on board. More information as we learn more.

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