Economy

Plane crashes after airline employee’s solo ‘unauthorized takeoff’ from Seattle airport

Plane crashes after airline employee’s solo ‘unauthorized takeoff’ from Seattle airport

"We are devastated by these events and Jesus is truly the only one holding this family together, without him we would be hopeless".

Read out by family friend Mike Mathews, the statement said: "He was a faithful husband, loving son and a good friend. He was right in saying that there are so many people who have loved him".

Preliminary information suggests the crash occurred because the 29-year-old man was "doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills", the Pierce County Sheriff's Department said.

Russell, 29, a local ground service agent who assisted baggage handlers, has been identified by media as the man who operated the unauthorized flight on August 10.

"This is not a terrorist incident". He used a pushback tractor to maneuver a Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft for take-off around 8 p.m. that night.

Russell could be heard on audio recordings talking to air traffic controllers, who tried to convince him to land the airplane.

Video taken by a bystander showed the airplane making a loop, then flying low over a body of water. Authorities initially said the man was a mechanic but Alaska Airlines later said he was believed to be a ground service agent employed by Horizon.

He passed a series of background checks to gain his position, as he did not have any criminal convictions.

Tilden said the system in place is to credential and secure employees and air fields, but not planes.

Richard Russell was suicidal when he stole the empty passenger plane, authorities say.

"Until the Federal Bureau of Investigation has the opportunity to get better background on the person, find out what motive they had, it's a little too early to make a determination on what the objective was", Debra Eckrote, the NTSB's western Pacific region chief, said at a news conference.

According to Horizon Air CEO Gary Beck, his role involved "loading, unloading bags and cargo, tidying the aircraft and. he was also a member of the tow team, which allowed him, qualified him to tow aircraft". "We know who he is". "It's going to disappoint them to hear that I did this.Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess". "I would like to apologize to each and everyone one of them", said Russell.

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While in the air, Russell joked for almost 20 minutes with the air traffic control agent, but admitted he had "a few screws loose" and called himself "just a broken guy".

During his unauthorized flight, the hijacker spoke to air traffic controllers on the ground. It did not elaborate.

'This is probably jail time for life, huh?

In a humorous YouTube video posted by Russell a year ago, he talked about his job and included videos and photos of his various travels, saying: "I lift a lot of bags".

"I don't need that much help". When asked about previous flight experience that, he responded that he'd "played some video games before".

Russell repeatedly says he would do a roll.

While the crash only killed Russell, the brazen stealing of a commercial airline from a major United States airport has exposed a gap in airline security.

"Congratulations. You did that". "Let's turn around the air and land it and not hurt anybody on the ground". "You want me to ride the brakes in the cockpit" or 'Hey, what are you doing?' Nobody did that", said Kelly. "I don't know what the burnage is like on takeoff, but it burned quite a bit faster than I expected".

The Alaska Airlines plane that was stolen by an airline employee from Seattle-Tacoma International airport has crashed in Washington's South Puget Sound.

"It is highly fragmented", she said of the plane.

He crashed almost an hour after the plane was taken from a maintenance area, though officials said that it did not appear that the fighter jets were involved in the crash of the aircraft.

All departures and arrivals were halted at the busy airport for some time but have since resumed.


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