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Mechanic steals empty plane from Seattle's airport, crashes

12 August 2018

A man crashes a passenger plane in Washington State, after performing an unauthorized take-off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Russell, who had no experience piloting an aircraft, attempted stunts as he flew southwest from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The official wasn't authorised to discuss the matter and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Richard Russell, who liked to be called Beebo, was a 29-year-old man living in Sumner, Washington, who was born in Key West, Florida, and moved to Wasilla, Alaska, when he was 7 years old, according to a Web page he set up for a college communications class.

The family of the airport worker suspected of stealing a plane from Seattle's main airport before crashing into an island have expressed their shock and grief.

There was no connection to terrorism and no others were involved, said Troyer. While Russell was in the air performing hard maneuvers in the air Amy Leddy says her Alaska Airlines flight and the flights of hundreds of other passengers were delayed. We know who he is.

Pierce County Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer told the Bellingham Herald that information was preliminary regarding the developing incident.

Sea-Tac airport confirmed the plane was down a short time later. There were no passengers aboard.

The man, who was a ground agent at Sea-Tac Airport and not a pilot, eventually crashed on Ketron Island and died.

Mr Southers said the man could have caused mass destruction.

"Safety is our number one goal", Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden said.

Video showed fiery flames amid trees on the island, which is sparsely populated and only accessible by ferry. No structures on the ground were damaged, Alaska Airlines said.

The two F-15s were scrambled and in the air within minutes of the theft, flying at supersonic speeds from their Portland Air Force base to intercept the aircraft, said the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which oversees airspace protection in North America.

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The man was a resident of Pierce County, Wash., and "acted alone", the Pierce County Sheriff's Department tweeted. Without confirming anything, a stolen aircraft would be a security issue.

Russell appears to have been a ground service agent, the paper said.

The stolen plane was a twin engine turboprop Q400 airplane belonging to its sister carrier Horizon Air, Alaska Airlines said on Twitter.

But Schiavo said those security procedures are not always observed, especially for smaller aircraft like the 76-seat Bombardier Q400 hijacked Friday night.

Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor described the incident as a "joyride gone terribly wrong", adding that the pilot "did something foolish and may well have paid with his life".

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".

Richard "Beebo" Russell, a Horizon Air ground service agent, flew the plane for over an hour before it crash-landed on Ketron Island in south Puget Sound on Friday.

"There is the runway just off to your right side in about a mile", the controller told him.

Efforts were made to try and get him to land the plane, but after saying he might land it "in a safe kind of manner" he added: 'I think I'm gonna try to do a barrel roll, and if that goes good, I'm just gonna nose down and call it a night'. "It's going to disappoint them to hear that I did this", Rich said.

"I would like to apologise to each and every one of them". Got a few screws loose. Normal operations at Sea-Tac have resumed.

After a ride full of risky loop-the-loops moves and weird conversation with the air traffic controllers, Richard wasn't able to land safely and crashed into a heavily wooded area on Ketron Island causing the jet became engulfed in flames.

The crash sparked a fire in the dense forest. The plane was "highly fragmented and the wings are off", she said.

Mechanic steals empty plane from Seattle's airport, crashes