Richard Russell, a former Horizon Air Employee, stole and crashed a plane from SEA on Friday night. Russell, who has been presumed dead in the crash, has been described as “well liked” and “a quiet guy.” Family and friends have said that his actions are out of sync with the man that they remember.
Richard Russell, a Horizon Air ground service agent who stole and crashed a plane from Seattle—Tacoma International Airport (SEA) last Friday night, has been described by his former employer as “a quiet guy” and “well liked,” reports the Seattle Times. Russell, who crashed the Q400 turboprop on Ketron Island in Puget Sound, has been presumed dead.
The incident resulted in both the closer of SEA and saw Russell pursued by military aircraft.
According to media accounts – fleshed out by descriptions from family, friends and co-workers – the actions that led to his death are out of character with the young man that many knew. Russell’s family, who referred to him as Beebo, have been quoted by The Telegraph as saying in a statement, “This is a complete shock to us. We are devastated by these events, and Jesus is truly the only one holding this family together right now.”
Rick Christenson, a retired supervisor with Horizon Air told the Seattle Times, “He was a quiet guy. It seemed like he was well liked by the other workers. I feel really bad for Richard and for his family. I hope they can make it through this.”
Portions of the conversations between Russell and air traffic controllers at SEA have also been widely quoted. During one communication with the controllers at SEA, Russell is quoted as saying, “I’ve got a lot of people that care about me. It’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this.”
In their statement, his family added, “As the voice recordings show, Beebo’s intent was not to harm anyone. He was right in saying that there are so many people who have loved him.”
According to posts on social media, Russell was a married man who once co-owned a bakery with his wife. He also appeared to lead an actively Christian life and was involved in youth ministry.
The multiple authorities investigating this case are speculating that the craft was crashed on purpose. It has now also been reported that the flight data recorder has been recovered from the wreckage and will be analyzed.