Utah fugitive tries stealing commercial plane, commits suicide

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ST. GEORGE, Utah -- A fugitive attempted to steal a commercial plane at a southwest Utah airport but apparently committed suicide before getting airborne, authorities said Tuesday.

SkyWest Airlines said one of its employees on administrative leave was involved in a ground incident with an aircraft at St. George Municipal Airport and is now dead.

It provided no other details on what happened early Tuesday.

The fugitive was wanted on unspecified state charges and was attempting to avoid capture, the official said.

SkyWest Airlines said in a statement that no passengers were on board the CRJ200 and that it was not in service at the time.

"The aircraft did sustain damage; the extent of the damage is currently being inspected by our maintenance and safety professionals," the airline said. "SkyWest is cooperating with authorities in the investigation."

SkyWest said passengers were being accommodated on other flights and through ground transportation.

The FBI office in Salt Lake City said agents were at the airport and gathering facts with other agencies.

"It is important to note there is no ongoing public safety issue, and the scene is under the control of law enforcement," Agent Debbie D. Bertram said.

Spokesman David Castelveter of the Transportation Safety Administration said the agency was reviewing "perimeter compliance" at the airport.

According to Jane's All the World's Aircraft, the CRJ200 typically seats 50 passengers.
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