The man, identified as Richard Russell, had described himself to air traffic controllers as “broken” and also mentioned being on “minimum wage”.
The Hush Post: The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has ruled out any terror angle into the plane crash in Seattle on Friday. The plane was ‘stolen’ by an airline employee from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Friday night. He flew the 76-seater Horizon Air Q400 turboprop plane for about an hour with F-15 military jets chasing him and crashed it in a wooded island around 50km southwest of Seattle.
The FBI’s Seattle office, which is leading the investigation, said the man had stolen the plane with an intention to “commit suicide”. The man, identified as Richard Russell, had described himself to air traffic controllers as “broken” and also mentioned being on “minimum wage”.
“I’ve got a lot of people that care about me, and it’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this,” he said, adding “I would like to apologize to each and every one of them. Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess. Never really knew it until now.”
He even Russell joked with traffic controllers about “going to jail” after the incident.
The 29-year-old had worked for Horizon Air as a ground service agent for more than three years, towing and tidying aircraft and loading bags. He didn’t have a pilot’s license. FBI says that Russell had undergone extensive background checks, was in uniform, had proper credentials and had clearance to be in secure aircraft areas.
Police say, Russell used a pushback tractor to move the empty 76-seater plane and took off without authorization at 7:32 p.m. local time Friday. According to media reports, his family stated that he was “kind and gentle to each person he met”.
Meanwhile, investigators are now are trying to figure out how Russell managed the dramatic flight given the complexity involved in commercial aircraft.