‘Suicidal’ mechanic steals plane from Seattle airport

Andrew Cummings
August 12, 2018

He flew for about one hour, often erratically with attempts at aerial stunts, before crashing onto sparsely populated Ketron Island in Puget Sound, some 25 miles (40 km) to the southwest.

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

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

In partial recordings of Russell's conversations with air traffic controllers that were published online by Broadcastify.com, he said he was sorry to disappoint people who cared about him and described himself as a "broken guy". They should've gone over and said "Hey, ' if nothing else, 'Can I help you?"

As reported by NBC, in his communications with the air traffic control tower, the man mentions "having a few screws loose" and showed signs of suicidal thoughts.

Alaska Air Group, which owns Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, said the man was a ground service agent for Horizon Air, which would have allowed him access to the planes on the tarmac at the airport.

The FBI is leading investigations into the incident and special agent Jay Tabb said there are dozens of people at the crash site working to find answers.

In a video posted to Alaska Airlines' verified YouTube page late Friday night, Horizon Air's Chief Operating Officer, Constance von Muehlen, said the plane was taken by a Horizon Air employee, and no other passenger or crew were onboard. Ultimately, the man crash landed the hijacked Horizon Air Q400 plane after being coaxed by air traffic controllers, but audio and witness accounts paint a disturbing scene.

Mr Waldron said the plane at its lowest point was no more than 100ft (30.5m) above the water.

"I would like to apologise to each and every one of them".

Authorities say the man went through various background checks to get clearance to be in the secured area.

"We just need to get out there and look at the wreckage", Eckrote said at a press briefing at the Steilacoom ferry dock. "Never really knew it until now", said Richard Russell.

Richard then says he feels like one of the engines "is going out or something". "Pilots kept the plane out of harm's way and people on ground safe", the sheriff said on Twitter.

A two-acre fire burns early Saturday on the Puget Sound island where the plane crashed. Ground service agents' job duties are to load and unload bags, direct aircraft for takeoff and de-ice planes in the winter.

"No security violations were committed", said Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden.

A "suicidal" airline mechanic stole an empty plane before flying around an airport then crashing near a small island.

Gov. Jay Inslee thanked the Air National Guard from Washington and OR for scrambling jets and said in a statement "there are still a lot of unknowns surrounding tonight's tragic incident". F-15 fighter jets were sent from Portland to control the situation and, if necessary to intercept it. Near the end of the video, you can also see the aftermath of the crash.

Other reports by iNewsToday