Published: Sun, August 12, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

Local pilot reacts to stolen Horizon airplane

Local pilot reacts to stolen Horizon airplane

"No security violations were committed", said Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden. We'll move quickly to correct the record and we'll only point to the best information we have at the time.

At a press conference, Sheriff Paul A. Pastor said it was definitely not an act of terror: "Most terrorists don't do loops over the water". Alaska Airlines said he was an employee who helps direct aircraft to gates and de-ice planes.

One colleague said, "People did not see him as a threat".

There was no connection to terrorism, Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the sheriff's department, said.

According to Mike Ehl, director of operations at Sea-Tac, 75 flights were delayed, nine flights were diverted to other airports and five flights were canceled. There were no passengers aboard.

The plane was stolen at around 8:00 pm (0300 GMT Saturday) and crashed 90 minutes later, officials said.

In a video posted on YouTube last December, Mr Russell shows luggage coming off and being loaded onto aircraft, and describes what the life of a ground service agent can entail.

Richard Bloom, an aviation security expert at Arizona's Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, said he wasn't aware of another incident in which a ground crew member managed to heist an airplane.

She said the plane was "highly fragmented" and the wings were detached from the fuselage.

"To our knowledge, he didn't have a pilot's license", Gary Beck, CEO of Alaska Airlines affiliate Horizon, told reporters. We know who he is. They pursued the aircraft before it went down on Ketron Island, between Tacoma and Olympia. Officials said there were no victims on the ground.

Officials from Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air said they were still working closely with authorities as they investigate what happened.

In a statement to PEOPLE, Alaska Airlines said, "We are aware of an incident involving an unauthorized take-off of a Horizon Air Q400".

The plane was a Q400, a Bombardier turboprop plane, one of about 40 the airline has in its fleet.

As he was in the air, Mr Russell could be heard on audio recordings telling air traffic controllers that he was "just a broken guy".

A MECHANIC stole a plane from Seattle airport and joked with air traffic controllers before crashing into an island.

Scott Adams, a battalion chief with West Pierce Fire and Rescue, said about 10:30 p.m. the crash had started a grass fire, and that two fire engines, a medic unit and a command unit were at the site, along with firefighting staff from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"Oh man", Rich immediately responded, "Those guys will rough me up if I try and land there".

In Russell's final moments captured by partial recordings of his conversations with air traffic controllers that were published online by Broadcastify.com, Russell spoke calmly and said he was sorry to disappoint people who cared about him and described himself as a "broken guy". Got a few screws loose.

After flying around an unpredictable path, the plane crashed at a nearby island. The crash sparked a 2-acre wildfire. The plane was "highly fragmented and the wings are off", she said. "The wings are off, the fuselage is, I think, kind of positioned upside down".

An investigation will also seek to determine how a ground service worker was able to access the plane's cockpit and steal it in the first place.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Saturday morning that President Donald Trump was "monitoring the situation".

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