"Here we have an employee who was vetted to the level to have access to the aircraft and had a skill set proficient enough to take off with that plane", he said.
One colleague said, "People did not see him as a threat". Southers is director of homegrown violent extremism studies at the University of Southern California. Video shows him doing large loops and other risky maneuvers.
"There were some manoeuvres that were done that were incredible manoeuvres with the aircraft", Beck said.
"We have multiple 911 calls, over 30, reporting a fireball", Troyer said.
Airline and airport officials would not say during a briefing to reporters Saturday exactly when airport staff determined the plane was in the process of being stolen.
On Saturday morning, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told media that PresidentDonald Trump was briefed on the incident and is now "monitoring the situation" in Seattle. He is now at his New Jersey golf club. His identity is known but has not been released.
There was no indication that the incident was an act of terror, the Pierce County Sheriff's Department said on Twitter. Russell "had access legitimately" to the plane, Mike Ehl, director of aviation operations at the airport in the northwestern USA state of Washington said, adding that "no security violations were committed".
Video from a witness on the ground shows the plane at one point doing a loop, putting the aircraft upside-down, then pulling up just feet above a body of water. No one was hurt on the ground, authorities said.
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Audio recordings from the air traffic control tower at Sea-Tac feature the conversation between the tower and the man in the airplane.
"Every airport in the country is going to be looking" at whether current protocols need to be changed, Soucie said.
"That means I lift a lot of bags, like a lot of bags, so many bags", he says, adding, "it allows me to do some pretty cool things, too". "They're not as easy to fly as, say, a Cessna 150, so I don't know how he achieved the experience that he did", Beck said.
The incident, which the FBI's Seattle office did not consider terrorism, raises questions about airport security.
The plane was pursued by military aircraft before it crashed on tiny Ketron Island, southwest of Tacoma, Washington. There were no passengers aboard.
At a news conference in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, officials from Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air said that they are still working with authorities as they investigate what happened.
On a live air-traffic control feed, the person flying the plane could be heard speaking with an air-traffic controller who addressed him as Rich and Richard.
A Horizon Air airplane was stolen from SeaTac Airport on August 10, 2018 and crashed on Ketron Island where it sparked a fire.
The airline was coordinating with the Federal Aviation Administration, the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board, he said.
Witnesses reported seeing the plane being chased by military aircraft near the airport. The tweet said the crash may have been caused by the mechanic "doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills". He said the plane crashed in a wooded area.
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