SeaTac plane thief was ‘warm, compassionate man’

Richard Beebo Russell
Richard Russell stole a plane and then crashed it. YouTube image.

Richard Beebo Russell, 29, who stole a large plane from SeaTac Airport and then crashed it “was a warm, compassionate man.”

That description of him comes from his shocked family who issued a statement read by a friend.

“It is impossible to encompass who he was in a press release. He was a faithful husband, a loving son, and a good friend. …This is a complete shock to us,” the family said.

“We are devastated by these events and Jesus is truly the only one holding this family together right now.”

He was a ground worker for Horizon Air and like others who work within secure perimeters of an airport he had security clearance.

The Q400 Bombardier turboprop is a large aircraft capable of seating 75 passengers. It’s about 100-feet long.

He indicated in his conversations with air traffic controllers that he knew a bit about flying from playing video games.

After a final roll he did with the plane he indicated he had hoped the manoeuvre would have ended it. A few minutes later he crashed on an Island near Tacoma.

He described himself as a broken man with a few screws loose. He also apologized during the surreal drama.

“All of us at Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air are saddened by last night’s unauthorized flight of a Horizon Q400 aircraft that resulted in the loss of life of the individual involved,” said Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Air Group

Authorities are trying to recover flight data and voice recorders. Along with those they also will be looking for Russell’s remains.

‘Just a broken guy’ crashes stolen plane near Seattle