Published: Tue, August 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Family, friends remember former Wasilla man who stole commercial airplane

Family, friends remember former Wasilla man who stole commercial airplane

Federal Bureau of Investigation said it does not consider the incident terror-related as authorities try to piece together how a security scare of that magnitude occurred at major airport.

The FBI said Sunday night that it had recovered the flight-data recorder and components of the cockpit voice recorder from the wreckage, as well as human remains.

Co-workers said the 29-year-old airport worker nicknamed "Beebo" who commandeered an empty passenger plane from Seattle's main airport, then crashed it into an island in Puget Sound, was "quiet" and "very friendly".

Russell joked to air traffic controllers that he could do fly the plane because he had played so many video games.

At one point, he does begin to demonstrate regretfulness.

There were no other injuries and the F-15s did not shoot down the plane, according to officials.

"There were some manoeuvres that were done that were incredible with the aircraft", Mr Beck said. "You've got no issue with visibility or anything?"

Officials from Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air said they are working with authorities to ensure something like this doesn't happen again. Preliminary info is that a mechanic from unknown airlines stole plane. It had been parked at a cargo and maintenance area for the night after arriving from Victoria, British Columbia, earlier in the day.

There was no connection to terrorism and no others were involved, said Troyer.

Video showed the Horizon Air Q400, a turboprop plane that seats 76 people, doing large loops and other unsafe maneuvers as the sun set on Puget Sound.

Based on the footage of the flight, which shows the plane making loops and a barrel roll, it seems Russell had some pilot training.

He could be heard on audio recordings telling air traffic controllers that he is "just a broken guy".

"I've got a lot of people that care about me", the man later said.

On a SoundCloud site, Russell interviews fellow ground service agents, asking them questions that include: "What was one of your best travel experiences using your flight benefits?" "Never really knew it until now".

The local sheriff's department said on Twitter that either doing stunts "or lack of flying skills" caused the crash. It did not elaborate.

"Oh man. Those guys will rough me up if I try and land there", Russell responded, later adding "This is probably jail time for life, huh?" I was kinda hoping that was going to be it.

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

The plane crash has left Russell's family devastated.

"Congratulations. You did that. Now let's land that airplane safely and don't hurt anybody on the ground", the helping pilot radios.

"Awwww-right. Ah, dammit. I don't know, man!"

"I want to share how incredibly sad all of us at Alaska are about this incident".

After falling through several 100-foot lines of trees, the Bombardier Q400 plane broke up into pieces small enough to pick up by hand, National Transportation Safety Board Western Pacific Region chief Debra Eckrote said. The Q400 is a turboprop aircraft with 76 seats. They pursued the aircraft before it went down on Ketron Island, between Tacoma and Olympia. The jets' capability was appropriate to the potential task, one of the sources said, without offering details.

The F-15Cs are part of Operation Noble Eagle, a post-9/11 program to have military aircraft around North America on constant alert, should they need to intercept another plane. John Waldron was walking along a trail near the bay when he noticed the two military jets following a plane doing aerobatics.

They are so far unclear whether he had ever taken flight lessons or used a simulator to learn how to take off.

The plan flew toward Ketron Island where it crashed into a ball of fire, reports state.

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