Audio and video from the fatal flight of a stolen Horizon Air passenger plane are providing a fuller picture of the incident Friday evening in the skies south of Seattle.
Our partners at KING 5 News combined video from multiple witnesses on the ground with audio of the Horizon Air ground service agent, identified as Richard Russell, 29, as he took off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and piloted the 76-passenger Bombardier Q400 turboprop plane through a series of daredevil maneuvers before crashing on an island in Puget Sound.
At one point, the air traffic controller asks Russell if he’s comfortable flying.
“Oh hell yeah, it’s a blast man. I played video games before so … I know what I’m doing a little bit,” he answered.
Air traffic controller: “And you can see all the terrain around you? You’ve got no issue with visibility or anything?”
Russell: “Nah, Everything’s peachy. … Just did a little circle around Rainier, it’s beautiful. I think I got some gas to go check out the Olympics.”
He added later, “I got a lot of people that care about me and it’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this, I would like to apologize to each and every one of them. Just a broken guy. Got a few screws loose, I guess. Never really knew it till now.”
Here’s a statement from Russell’s family, read by a friend.
Video: Friend of Richard Russell, the man who stole a plane and crashed it near Seattle makes statement for his family. They're shocked and surprised, call him a faithful husband and loving son. https://t.co/IsDxf8Xst2 pic.twitter.com/A5pdh25Bqx
— WPEC CBS12 News (@CBS12) August 12, 2018
The FBI’s Seattle field office issued this statement Sunday.
— FBI Seattle (@FBISeattle) August 13, 2018
The plane crashed on sparsely inhabited Kitron Island, southwest of Seattle. Russell is presumed dead. No one else was injured.
The incident highlights a vulnerability in airport security.