The Pierce County Sheriff's Department said the crash was not a terrorist incident, and the man who piloted the Alaska Airlines plane was a 29-year-old "suicidal male" who lived in Pierce County.
The crash occurred because the person was "doing stunts in the air or lack of flying skills", the Pierce County Sheriff's Department said.
Alaska Airlines said that it was aware of an unauthorized take-off of a Q400 twin-engine turboprop airplane operated by its sister carrier Horizon Air. No passengers appeared to be aboard the 76-seat plane. The man's condition wasn't immediately known.
The sheriff says that the man is a Pierce County resident, and that it is believed that he is the only casualty from the crash.
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He also said he didn't want to land at a nearby military base, telling ground crews 'those guys will rough me up if I try and land there'.
Horizon Air chief operating officer Constance von Muehlen said the company believed the mechanic involved was a Horizon employee.
The man told authorities on the ground he "would like to apologize" to people who cared about him. Preliminary info is that a mechanic from unknown airlines stole plane.
"Stolen horizon airplane crashed into Ketron island".
Alaska Airlines planes are seen at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac, Wash., Oct. 30, 2013.
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Passengers at Sea-Tac were held by a temporary ground stop while the stolen plane was in flight.
"My husband and I are recently former Boeing employees and we were wondering why a jet was near the passenger airplane", she said. "There was smoke. We saw flames on the hillside, police boats circling, helicopters overhead", he told NPR's Scott Simon on Weekend Edition Saturday.
Operations at Sea-Tac airport, the largest commercial airpot in the Pacific Northwest, were temporarily halted during the incident, but resumed after the hijacking came to its tragic end.
Audio clips of broadcast traffic posted by multiple users on Twitter recorded the pilot speaking to air traffic controllers, sometimes seeking advice, sometimes talking about himself.
"It was unfathomable, it was something out of a movie", he said. "The smoke lingered. You could still hear the F-15s, which were flying low", he added.
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