Richard Russell: Full Story Of Man Who Stole Alaska Airlines Plane

Had a difficult time sleeping. Eventually woke up extremely sad hoping it was a dream. Heavy heart. Tears falling down my cheek. Still shaken. Still shaking. Devastated. I don’t know how to express fully what I am feeling. Always smiling. Our many conversations about sometimes random things. I enjoyed working together on our flights. Very hard working. Always helping our team when needed. I remember your smile. I can still hear your laugh. I can still see you reading. Because you were an avid reader, you were knowledgeable of such random things. I miss you. Even though I never knew you outside of work, what I experienced with you is forever embedded in my mind and heart. Love you man. To my horizon (QX) family, especially our SeaTac station, we will get through this together. I love you all. I love you all. I love you all. If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to ask. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted -Matthew 5:4 #sad #loveyouman #iamhorizon #SEA #rip #shaking #horizonair #richardrussell

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Richard Russell has been identified as the 29-year-old man who stole an Alaska Airlines plane from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport late Friday night, before crashing the plane and taking his life. Russell, who was married, was a Horizon Air employee and had worked at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for nearly four years.

Russell hijacked an empty 76-seat turboprop Q400 plane. Russell was doing stunts in the air with the plane and joking with Air Traffic controllers before he crashed in a wooded area near Ketron Island.

“I’ve got a lot of people that care about me. I’m going to disappoint them to hear that I did this,” Russell could be heard saying before taking his own life. “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, until now.”

#Update @DeborahKIRO7 has confirmed the ID of the man who stole the commercial plane from @SeaTacAirport yesterday. The plane then crashed on Ketron Island. Family members confirm Richard Russell was operating the plane and plan to give us a statement later this evening. pic.twitter.com/EfFgoMzqUC

— KIRO 7 (@KIRO7Seattle) August 11, 2018

Russell flew the plane for nearly an hour before the crash. Police blame “doing stunts in the air and a lack of flying skills” for the fatal ending to his joyride.

A WordPress site that appears to belong to Russell provided more information into his life.

Hey all! My names Richard Russell, I’m 27 and currently living in Sumner, WA with my incredible wife Hannah. I was born in Key West, Florida, and moved to Wasilla, Alaska when I was 7. I met Hannah in Coos Bay, Oregon in 2010 while we were both going to school. We were married one year later, and one month after that we opened a bakery which we successfully ran for 3 years. We decided to sell and move in 2015, because we were both so far removed from our families. Failing to convince Hannah of Alaska’s greatness, we settled on Sumner because of its close proximity to her family. I, meanwhile, obtained a job working for Horizon Airlines (partnered with Alaska Airlines) so I’m able to fly to Alaska at my leisure. In this season of life we enjoy exploring as much as possible, whether its a day (or so) trip to one of Alaska Airline’s destinations, or visiting a new area of Washington. We consider ourselves bakery connoisseurs and have to try a new one every place we go. Once I earn my Bachelors in Social Sciences I will either seek a management position where I’m at now, or possibly join the military as an officer.

This is Richard Russell. He is the one that worked at SeaTac that took the Alaska Airlines plane last night. I was on Twitter while it was happening last night. There were some jokes about a report that he told air traffic control that he wanted to do a barrel roll before he went down. I even made a joke as well. Until I heard the recordings of the entire transmission, and it humanized him. He was funny and calm and made sure to let everyone know that there were no passengers and that no one was going to get hurt. What I find so beautiful is, there MORE people that showed empathy for Rich, than there were people making jokes. People were identifying with him…the depression, and the humor and that he was someone like us, who was broken inside, and didn't want to live anymore. He had a WordPress blog and a Youtube channel. If you want to get to know him…who he was as a person, check it out. #RichardRussell #Rich #SeaTac #RIPRich #APersonJustLikeMe #APersonJustLikeYou #empathy #mentalillness #mentalhealth #depression #suicide #life

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