A suicidal airline mechanic performed “stunts” in a stolen jet before crashing into a ball of flames on Friday evening.
The 29-year-old airport worker described himself as a “broken guy who has a few screws loose” in a conversation with air traffic controllers from the cockpit.
He appeared to attempt loops and barrel rolls before crash landing on Ketorn Island in south Puget Sound – a small island with about two dozen residents just outside Seattle.
Video shows the jet – believed to be an Alaska Air Q400 – flying overhead as a fighter jets follow in pursuit.
The Peirce Country Sheriff’s office confirmed the “rogue” pilot was a 29-year-old mechanic who had little knowledge of flying.
Speaking to air traffic controllers, he said: “I’ve got a lot of people who care about me and they are going to be disappointed to hear that I did this.
“I would like to apologise to each and every one of them.
“I’m just a broken guy who has a few screws loose, I guess. Never really knew it until now.”
He also joked about being offered a job if he landed the aircraft safely.
The Pierce County Sheriff said the man was “doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills caused crash into Island”.
No passengers were on board and normal operations have resumed at the airfield, the airport said on Twitter.
The 29-year-old pilot was suicidal and appeared to have acted alone.