Reporter flying to San Diego stranded on tarmac as flight drama unfolds

Tweets help confirm what's happening
Posted at 7:39 PM, Aug 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-13 22:39:25-04

News can happen at any time and any place, ujst ask Anna Boyko-Weyrauch.  The reporter from KUOW Public Radio had just locked her tray table into place when the pilot of the plane that was about to fly her to San Diego announced a delay.

"He says there’s a guy, and he’s got a plane and he’s flying around Seattle and so he’s tying up all the airways" said Boiko-Weyrauch. 

Her plane was among the 40 or so stranded for more than an hour while a rogue airport employee flew a Horizon Airways plane in the skies above Seattle.

Boiko-Weyrauch immediately fired up her cell phone and began tweeting.  "I kick into news mode," she recalled.  "I hear these things from the pilot. I'm trying to confirm them."

She used Twitter and e-mail to try to learn more about the situation. 

The pilot came back on the plane's intercom, telling passengers the man delaying their flight learned how to fly on the internet.  Somehow he managed not only to take off, but to fly past Mt. Rainier and the Olympic Mountains.

She tweeted: Hey @AlaskaAir, can you confirm any of the reports we’re hearing and reading? A stolen Q-400? A suicidal pilot? F-15 escorts? A crash? Anything? 

About an hour and 15 minutes after the delay began, Boiko-Weyrauch read a tweet that said the plane had crashed and smoke was seen.  Moments later, her pilot told passengers the delay was over.

She set her phone to flight mode and waited three hours until the flight landed in San Diego to confirm the man who stole the plane crashed it and died.

Boiko-Weyrauch laughed as she admitted she almost left her work cell phone behind, thinking she wouldn't need it during a weekend visit with her 93-year-old grandmother.  

The reporter in her decided to keep the phone handy, just in case.