Saturday, 18 August, 2018

Family of man who stole and crashed plane 'shocked and devastated'

A Horizon Air airplane was stolen from Sea Tac Airport on Aug. 10 2018 and crashed on Ketron Island where it sparked a fire A Horizon Air airplane was stolen from Sea Tac Airport on Aug. 10 2018 and crashed on Ketron Island where it sparked a fire
Priscilla Morrison | 12 August, 2018, 07:28

On Friday, an airline mechanic stole an empty Horizon Air turboprop plane, took off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and was chased by military jets before crashing onto Ketron, a small island in the Puget Sound, on Friday night, officials said.

Norad said the F15s were "working to redirect the aircraft out over the Pacific Ocean when it crashed on the southern tip of Ketron island", about 30 miles (48km) south of the airport.

Late yesterday's full stop at Seattle's Sea-Tac airport turned out to have a weird and ultimately tragic reason.

"This was an unauthorized flight", Tilden said.

Southers says that if the man knew how to do loops he likely had the skills to target people on the ground.

He told authorities on the ground he "would like to apologize" to people who cared about him.

Audio captured between the man - who was identified as "Rich" - and air traffic controllers show him asking for help to get the cabin pressurised so he would stop feeling so lightheaded.

They referenced the recordings of him talking to air traffic controllers and said and that it's clear Russell, who went by the nickname "Beebo", didn't intend to harm anyone and "he was right in saying that there are so many people who loved him". He documented his feelings working at the job on his social media and said he liked to travel and was hoping to one day work in a management position at the company. "At this time the family is moving forward with the hard task of processing our grief", the statement said.

Law enforcement sources confirmed to both The Seattle Times and The New York Times that Russell, who handled baggage and towed aircraft for Horizon Air, was the pilot.

"He worked his shift yesterday". The airport wouldn't return to normal operations until the early hours of Saturday morning.

Tilden declined to name the employee, but said he was hired by Horizon Air in February 2015.

More news: English club Leicester City transfer Turkish defender

The plane was stolen around 8:00 pm (0300 GMT Saturday) and crashed 90 minutes later, officials said.

Officials at the Sea-Tac Airport say an airline employee conducted an unauthorized takeoff in Washington state and has crashed.

Rick Christenson, a retired Horizon employee, saw the plane dive toward the water from the deck of his cousin's home looking out on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Unlike cars, there are no keys needed for the door or to turn on the plane, he said.

"Credentialed employees are there to work on the airplanes. We are devastated by these events and Jesus is truly the only one holding this family together right now", the family said.

"As far as taking off and navigating your way through SeaTac that's a big airport".

At some point, the authorities say, Russell got into a pushback tractor, attached it to the aircraft and turned the airplane 180 degrees, toward the runways.

"To our knowledge, he didn't have a pilot's license", Gary Beck, CEO of Alaska Airlines affiliate Horizon, told reporters. In one video shot by a witness on the ground, a man can be heard exclaiming that the pilot "just did a loop-the-loop".

There was no indication that the incident was an act of terror, the Pierce County Sheriff's Department said on Twitter.

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". Not a crisis line.

Text from anywhere in the US with a trained crisis counselor.

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