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New Details Emerge On Alaska Airlines Worker Who Stole Plane From Seattle Airport And Crashed It
An Alaska Airlines worker stole a plane from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and crashed it in 2018, however, newly released FBI records shed light on the suicide crash.
The newly released FBI records show that Richard Russell, who stole a turboprop from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, seemed unsettled to his loved ones before the theft and consequent crash.
Within the FBI report, witnesses said he went to work August 4 to try to pick up a shift, but the next day he “seemed strange,” and family friends attempted an intervention, according to the updated records.
Allegedly, Russell’s behavior immediately prior to the crash did not raise alarm to co-workers or family members.
“Russell seemed fine to family members after the intervention, though he was drinking more,” FBI records show. “The week of August 6, Russell seemed fine to family/friends.” Only 4 days later, Russell stole the plane, taxied and crashed it before he could be intercepted.
The 28-year-old Alaska Airlines worker entered the empty turboprop passenger aircraft about 7:30 p.m. August 10 as it sat on an airport tarmac and flew it for about an hour and 10 minutes, The News Tribune reported.
The Air National Guard scrambled two fighter jets to intercept the plane, but Russell was successful in intentionally crashing the plane.
The FBI reportedly found evidence that he had been searching flight simulators before the fatal incident.
According to Russell’s employer, there were no personnel issues on record.
“Russell was known as a quiet guy who read a lot. Russell had a few unexcused absences, but nothing considered significant” shows a witness statement about Russell.
Russell crashed the plane on Ketron Island in Washington, which is hardly populated. Russell was the only fatality following the crash. The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled his death as suicide.
According to the records, Russell talked about his loved ones with air traffic controllers. Anchorage Daily News reported some of his final words as “I would like to apologize to each and every one of them” he stated mid-flight. “Just a broken guy. Got a few screws loose. Never knew it until now”
It has been confirmed by Federal investigators that Russell acted alone.