Family of man who stole, crashed plane in 'complete shock'
Family of man who stole, crashed plane in 'complete shock'
Alaska Airlines said the stolen plane belonged to their sister carrier Horizon Air More
12 August, 2018, 12:57
Although it's not yet known how Richard, who worked with airport baggage and was not a pilot, was able to get in the plane and fly it away from the airport without being caught, F-15 fighter jets were called to track him as soon as airline employees realized what was going on.
They intercepted the plane near Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
The man sounds calm at times and jokes with operators on the ground, who try to direct him to places to land. "I would like to apologise to each and every one of them", he said.
In the chilling recording, he revealed he was a "broken man" and apologised to the air traffic controller.
A "suicidal" airline employee at Seattle's Sea-Tac International Airport stole an empty plane Friday night for a weird joyride, performing risky air maneuvers under close pursuit by F-15 fighter jets before crashing into an island.
The sheriff's department said "preliminary" information was that the plane's pilot was "a mechanic from unknown airlines" who "was doing stunts in air" or lacked flying skills.
A local aviation expert says the incident shows glaring gaps in airport security.
Sea-Tac officials said the airline employee had "conducted an unauthorised takeoff without passengers".
29-year-old Richard Russell, a ramp agent for Horizon Air, stole one of the companies aircraft and took it for a joy ride.
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"A joyride gone terribly wrong", Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said during a news conference in Steilacoom, which is about 3 miles from the island.
"Safety is our No. 1 goal", said Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Airlines. Video showed flames amidst trees on the island, which is sparsely populated and only accessible by ferry. Got a few screws loose. "Normal operations at Sea-Tac Airport have resumed", the airport wrote. The FBI said Friday night it was investigating the incident alongside other agencies.
"That means I lift a lot of bags, like a lot of bags, so many bags", he says, adding, "it allows me to do some pretty cool things, too". "We're working to confirm who was on board, we believe there were no guests or crew on board other than the person operating the plane". The jets were not involved in the crash, it said.
One user tweeted, "Some dude stole a plane from #Seatac (Allegedly), did a loop-the-loop, nearly crashed into #ChambersBay, then crossed in front of our party, chased by fighter jets and subsequently crashed". Russell "had access legitimately" to the plane, Mike Ehl, director of aviation operations at the airport in the northwestern U.S. state of Washington said, adding that "no security violations were committed". "I met Hannah in Coos Bay, Oregon in 2010 while we were both going to school", the about me section says.
A ground service agent's tasks don't involve touching planes' controls, CNN aviation analyst Mary Schiavo said. Investigators are trying to find how he got on the plane.
President Donald Trump was briefed on the incident and is monitoring the situation, press secretary Sarah Sanders said Saturday morning. "We are working back ground on him now", the Pierce County Sheriff wrote.
Royal King told The Seattle Times he was photographing a wedding when he saw the low-flying turboprop being chased by to F-15s. He didn't hear the crash, but saw smoke.
"It was unfathomable, it was something out of a movie", he said.
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In addition to disrupting air traffic control, the incident also caused alarm among locals, many of whom recorded the incident. Authorities say the man went through various background checks to get clearance to be in the secured area.
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