Richard Russell crashed with his aircraft in the island of Ketron, a sparsely populated island.
Russell, an airport worker stole a Horizon Air turbo on Friday from the Sea-Tac International Airport. He crashed into the trees on the Ketron Island. The crash was so severe that it broke into several small pieces.
Debra Eckrote, the Regional Chief of National Transportation Safety Board says “except for the big wing sections, it was hard to identify the pieces as parts of a plane”.
Along with the pieces, human remains have also been found. A flight data recorder and parts of the cockpit recorder have been identified near the place where the crash took place. The crash took place in a small island located in Puget Sound.
The 29-year-old airport worker is believed to have died. He was pursued by two military F-15s but he was not shot down by them. Russell had been chatting with controllers. He had performed stunts by flying in loops and barrel rolls when the crash took place.
Family members could just not believe that Russell could have done this. Russell had been just a ground agent for about three years. He had also opened a bakery at Oregon along with his wife just one year earlier. They say “Russell would never harm anyone”.
His family members think of him as a very loving son and a faithful husband. “It is only Jesus who is holding us together as a family right now”, they say.
How Russell could have got hold of the aircraft and how did he learn to fly are questions that still remain a mystery. The 76 seat plane was empty except for Russell seated inside the aircraft.
Analyst Justin Green, from CNN aviation, says that this will be a major learning event for the aviation industry. “Insider threat is the most severe threat faced in aviation”, says Erroll Southers, an expert in transportation security.
Henry Toffoli was born and raised in Mobile. Henry has worked as a journalist for nearly a decade having contributed to several large publications including the Tuscaloosa News in the Times-Journal. As a journalist for Alabama Post Gazette, Henry covers national and international developments.