Suicidal pilot crashes plane in US tax office

Thursday, February 18, 2010

AUSTIN - A single-engine private plane, reportedly flown by a suicidal pilot, crashed here Thursday into a seven-storey building complex housing the offices of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) injuring two people, media reports said.

The pilot was killed while two people were injured and one person was unaccounted for in the crash that federal officials said they had no reason to suspect was terrorism related, ABC news reported.

Federal authorities were investigating an online note reportedly written by 53-year-old software engineer Andrew Joseph Stack, the man identified by authorities as the pilot of the plane, in which he appears to have taken the responsibility for the attack on the IRS.

The note titled “Well Mr. Big Brother IRS Man take my pound of flesh and sleep well” was signed “Joe Stack (1956-2010)”, the report said.

“I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at ‘big brother’ while he strips my carcass, I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough,” the note reads.

Hours after posting the note, Stack set fire to his home, drove to a municipal airport, took-off in his single-engine Piper Cherokee aircraft and crashed it into the multi-storey office building, MSNBC reported quoting authorities.

The plane hit the side of the building between its first and second floor where the office of the IRS is located. A spokesman for the IRS said 190 people worked in the attacked office and it was in the process of accounting for all of our employees”.

The US Department of Homeland Security officials said they did not believe the crash was an act of terrorism.

“We do not yet know the cause of the plane crash. At this time, we have no reason to believe there is a nexus to criminal or terrorist activity,” Department of Homeland Security spokesman Matt Chandler told ABC News.

Chandler said two F-16 jets were sent from Houston to patrol over Austin as a precaution after the crash.

Witnesses said the pilot appeared to be in control of the plane moments before the crash.

“It hit it and the strange thing was the engine seemed to me to running at full power. It didn’t seem like the plane was in trouble. It was going full blast. It’s not a very fast airplane, but this thing was really moving fast,” the ABC report quoted a witness as saying.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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