Airline mechanic who stole plane told air traffic controllers he was a 'broken guy' before crashing

An airline mechanic who stole a Horizon Air plane from a Seattle airport told air traffic controllers that he was a "broken guy" but also joked about whether the airline would hire him as a pilot if he landed safely.

The man, who was addressed as "Rich" in audio recordings with air traffic controllers, said he didn't want to land at a nearby military base.

He told them, "Those guys will rough me up if I try and land there."

During another part of the exchange, the man said he was concerned he was going to run low on fuel.

Later, he said he's "got a lot of people that care about me."

He said he didn't want to disappoint them but that he was "just a broken guy, got a dew screws loose, I guess".

Earlier, Sea-Tac International Airport officials said in a tweet that the airline employee "conducted an unauthorised takeoff without passengers."

Witnesses reported seeing the plane being chased by military aircraft before it crashed near Ketron Island. There were no passengers aboard.

The Pierce County Sheriff's Office said on Twitter that preliminary information suggested that a mechanic had stolen the aircraft.

The tweet said the crash may have been caused by the mechanic "doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills."

The US Coast Guard was sending a 45-foot vessel to the crash scene after witnesses reported seeing a large plume of smoke in the air, Petty Officer Ali Flockerzi said.

The man's name was not immediately released.

A spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration directed inquiries to local authorities.

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Retirement Commissioner calls for changes to KiwiSaver so man with Down syndrome can visit brother

The Retirement Commissioner is calling for changes to KiwiSaver rules so a man with Down Syndrome can access his money earlier than the age of 65.

Tim Fairhall, who has been working at Countdown for 14 years, wants to use his savings to travel overseas to see his brother while he is still in good health.

The 39-year-old recently starred in a video made by the Retirement Commissioner's office to champion his case for early access to his KiwiSaver funds.

Diane Maxwell, the Retirement Commissioner, says Mr Fairhall and his mother have been "to the Ombudsman, they've been through every avenue, [and] they've been back to the provider and they've still be told 'no'".

The money Mr Fairhall needs to travel with his mother is locked up in KiwiSaver until he turns 65, but Down syndrome means he is ageing faster than most.

Joan Fairhall, his mother and carer, says, "If Tim survives till he's 65, and it's quite likely he will, he'll be a really old man then - the equivalent of about 90".

Being diagnosed with a terminal illness, buying your first home or proving financial hardship are all accepted reasons for opting out of KiwiSaver, but a life-shortening condition such as Down Syndrome is currently not under consideration.

Mr Fairhall's family said the situation is unfair as he has worked hard, and his needs and those of others like him must be considered.

"He's probably going to have to retire somewhere around 42 or 45 if he's to have a bit of time to enjoy his retirement," Ms Fairhall said.

The Retirement Commissioner says some changes are needed, but the process is slow.

"Cases like Tim's, I suspect, represent a few thousand people who need something more and the risk is it falls into the 'too hard' basket," Ms Maxwell said.

Mr Fairhall and his mother have made a submission to a select committee looking at tax laws.

By the time Tim Fairhall reaches 65 to access his KiwiSaver, he’ll be “the equivalent of about 90”. Source: 1 NEWS


US popstar Mariah Carey cancels Australia and New Zealand tour dates following 'scheduling conflict'

US hitmaker Mariah Carey has cancelled her Australia and New Zealand 2018 tour dates due to a "scheduling conflict", the singer said in a statement yesterday.

"It is with much regret that I am unable to visit Australia & New Zealand later this year, however I promise to find new dates soon. I've been working away on new music and I cannot wait to share it with you later this year," the 'We Belong Together' star told MJR Presents, the company behind her Australia and New Zealand leg of the tour.

MJR Presents responded to the news in a statement, saying, "We are disappointed that Mariah's shows are cancelled but look forward to hearing her new material soon".

"Full refunds will be given to all ticket holders from their original point of purchase and we apologise for the inconvenience to fans and ticket holders".

The tour dates were set for October this year after it was postponed from February.

New dates have yet to be announced for the affected shows.

Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey Source: Bang Showbiz