Family, friends recall man who crashed stolen plane as hard-working, kind

Family, friends recall man who crashed stolen plane as hard-working, kind

Two F-15Cs from the 142nd Fighter Wing from the Portland Air National Guard Base in OR were scrambled on Friday evening after a "suicidal" airline employee absconded in a Bombardier Q-400 twin-turboprop airliner out of Seattle International Airport before crashing the aircraft on a small island.

Richard Russell, a 29-year-old Horizon Air employee, was suicidal and chose to hijack the 76-seat plane around 8 p.m. Friday from a maintenance area of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington, according to reports.

The employee - whose identity has not been released - stole the passenger plane from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport around 8 PM.

His former coach said there's still a weight belt in the Wasilla High gym that says "Beebo" - adding he was in "total shock" over the incident. Confirmed info. this is a single suicide male.

"We don't know how" he was able to fly the plane, Horizon Air CEO Gary Beck told NBC.

Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said the man "did something foolish and may well have paid with his life".

Horizon Air is part of Alaska Air Group and flies shorter routes throughout the U.S. West.

"Apparently this was a plane that was stolen from SeaTac Airport".

In audio recordings with air traffic controllers, the man said he did not want to disappoint them but that he was "just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess".

At a news conference, officials from Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air said they are working with authorities.

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Officials from Alaska Airlines said that it's still too early to speculate what exactly happened but that the flight was unauthorized.

United States investigators are piecing together how an airline ground agent stole an empty commercial plane from Seattle's global airport and managed to get it up in the air before doing acrobatic tricks while he was being chased by military jets.

29-year-old Richard Russell, a ramp agent for Horizon Air, stole one of the companies aircraft and took it for a joy ride. He said the military planes were not involved in the crash.

Pierce County Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer told the Bellingham Herald that information was preliminary regarding the developing incident. "He had to know where he was going and how to get to a runway", added Furois.

Video from a witness on the ground shows the plane at one point pulling up for a loop, putting the aircraft upside-down and then pulling back up just feet above a body of water.

Two F-15 fighter jets were scrambled as "Rich" flew the passenger plane in an aerial loop, then headed south.

"I lift a lot of bags".

The air traffic controller can also be heard trying to talk him into landing.

The plane was pursued by military aircraft before it crashed on tiny Ketron Island, southwest of Tacoma, Washington.

Federal officials announced late Sunday that they recovered the flight data recorder and human remains from the stolen commercial airplane that took off from Sea-Tac International Airport and crashed into a small island in Puget Sound.

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