"I've got a lot of people that care about me", the man later said.
"We just need to get out there and look at the wreckage", Eckrote said at a press briefing at the Steilacoom ferry dock. The man's condition after the crash wasn't immediately known. "I've played some video games before", the man responds. "I don't know! I don't want to. I was kind of hoping that was going to be it, you know".
Instead, the F-15 pilots and air traffic controllers tried to guide the plane west, away from populated areas, said Hillier.
The FBI is leading the probe, which also includes the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.
Video showed the Horizon Air Q400 doing large loops and other unsafe manoeuvres as the sun set on Puget Sound.
The plane was pursued by military aircraft before it crashed on tiny Ketron Island, southwest of Tacoma, Washington.
The jets were armed but did not fire on the aircraft, Air Force Capt. Cameron Hillier, a NORAD spokesman, told The Washington Post on Saturday. The Department of Natural Resources said two acres burned. Two military F-15 chased plane but was not involved in the crash, the sheriff's department tweeted. Unlike cars, there are no keys needed for the door or to turn on the plane, he said.
Alaska Airlines also confirmed the 27-year-old had been "background checked" and had worked a shift at the airport prior to stealing the plane.
The married airport employee, 29, "hijacked" the Alaska Airlines plane before performing stunts in the sky as he was tailed by fighter jets today. "I thought this is really odd".
After the plane approached Ketron Island, Waldron saw a thick column of smoke followed by a loud explosion, he said.
"Everybody's stunned. that something like this would happen", said recently-retired Christenson.
"My husband and I are recently former Boeing employees, and we were wondering why a jet was near the passenger airplane", she said. Based on video from KIRO 7, the crash has started a forest fire on the island. "In terms of improvements that we might make as a company and as an industry to make this very safe industry even safer in the future, it's too early to say". "To our knowledge, he didn't have a pilot's license", Horizon CEO Gary Beck said at a news conference.
She added, "Yeah, he knew how to fly".
Audio exchanges between an air traffic controller and the pilot have been released.
"We believe it was taken by a single Horizon Air employee and that no other passengers or crew were onboard", Horizon Air Chief Operating Officer Constance von Muehlen said in a statement.
In a statement to PEOPLE, Alaska Airlines said, "We are aware of an incident involving an unauthorized take-off of a Horizon Air Q400". Initial information had said he was an airline mechanic.
The White House said Saturday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpKavanaugh once said president would likely have to testify before grand jury if subpoenaed: report Twitter says InfoWars account will remain online despite violating its rules Melania Trump family immigration lawyer praises so-called "chain migration" MORE, now staying at his Bedminster, New Jersey resort, had been briefed on the situation.