Seattle plane crash: Family of man who crashed stolen plane issue statement

No passengers were onboard and normal operations have resumed at the airfield

No passengers were onboard and normal operations have resumed at the airfield

The man who was flying the plane, identified as a 29-year-old Horizon Air employee, was presumed killed in the crash on sparsely populated Ketron Island.

Richard Russell was suicidal when he stole the empty passenger plane, authorities say.

Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, said on Twitter that the man was suicidal and there was no connection to terrorism.

Witnesses reported seeing the plane being chased by military aircraft before it crashed.

Performing those stunts in that plane which carries up to 80 people is something that this aircraft isn't created to perform.

She said the plane was "highly fragmented" and the wings were detached from the fuselage. "Commercial aircraft are complex machines".

This will be a major learning event for the aviation industry, CNN aviation analyst Justin Green said. Just a broken guy.

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"Yeah, not quite ready to bring it down just yet, but holy smokes, I got to stop looking at the fuel because it's going down quick", say the man. I would like to apologize to each and every one of them. "Never really knew it, until now", he added. They said they wanted to review video recordings, which are called tower tapes, to determine the plane's precise movements during taxing and takeoff. It did not elaborate. I would hope it is for a guy like me, ' Rich says in an audio clip released by authorities. "But could you start a left turn please?" At one point, Russell told a controller he had played a lot of video games.

Air traffic controllers and pilots could be heard discussing a "ground stop" and dealing with a backlog of aircraft.

The man responds: "Awwww-right ... dammit". "He was that kid you high-five in the hallway even if you don't know him".

"I had 30 to 40 folks involved overnight, out interviewing co-workers and family members, and I just want everybody to understand that this is going to take a little bit of time", Tabb said. The employee was a "ground service agent", according to Alaska Airlines (Horizon Air is a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group).

USA investigators are piecing together how an airline ground agent stole an empty commercial plane from Seattle's global airport and managed to get it up in the air before doing acrobatic tricks while he was being chased by military jets. It crashed on the south of Ketron Island, near a military facility.

"I watched probably 18 planes land and line up across from us because they were getting everyone on the ground and out of the air patterns", said Leddy. At that speed, the F-15s could have reached the Q400 in less than five minutes after take off from Portland. "Was doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills (that) caused crash into Island", the sheriff's office said.

"N$3 o signs of what happened, that's for sure", Hayes said.

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Two F-15 fighters were scrambled, about 75 flights were delayed and five fights were cancelled, authorities said. "We heard the jet because our windows were down while we were waiting in the ferry line to go to Anderson Island, which is adjacent to Ketron Island".

It wasn't clear what training, if any, the man had as a pilot.

Rich's job as an airport grounds service agent provided him and Hannah with the opportunity to travel the globe, enjoying adventures everywhere from Alaska to Mexico to France. Though she was eventually able to safely return to her Anchorage home, Leddy said she's still in shock of the situation. Preliminary info is that a mechanic from unknown airlines stole plane. "This is what we call the inside risk", he said, explaining that the security measures should not only be aimed at passengers, but also at employees.

Halbert offering insight into how Richard could've known how to fly that plane.

"At this time, we believe he was the only one in the aircraft but of course, we haven´t confirmed that at the crash site", Jay Tabb, chief of the FBI´s Seattle division, told the press conference Saturday.

The 76-seat Horizon Air turboprop plane took off without authorization at 7:32 p.m. local time Friday, with Russell, who was not a pilot, at the controls, officials said.

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