Richard Russell has been identified as the “suicidal” man who stole an Alaska Airlines airplane from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport late Friday night. The 29-year-old man was an airline employee at SeaTac for nearly four years. Audio from Russell’s nearly hour-long joyride was released by Air Traffic Control, and it gives insight on the emotional rollercoaster Russell was going through before he ultimately crashed the plane and took his life 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.”
Russell was part of the tow team at SeaTac which moves planes on the Tarmac for Horizon Airlines, an Alaska Airlines sister airline.
“He was a quiet guy. It seemed like he was well liked by the other workers,” Rick Christenson, a retired operational supervisor for the airline told the Seattle Times. “I feel really bad for Richard and for his family. I hope they can make it through this.”
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.
Our deepest condolences are with Russell’s family and friends during this difficult time.
If you or anyone you know are struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline at 1-800-273-8255.
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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