The family of Richard Russell, the man, aged 29, named as the pilot of a stolen Horizon Air plane which crashed this weekend, have described their shock and sadness of his death.
Russell, a ground handler at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, stole a Horizon Air Bombardier Q400 aircraft and performed a number of dangerous loops in the air before crashing in nearby Puget Sound island, which was not populated.
The ground handler, whom the airline stated had passed background checks and was authorised to work with the aircraft on the Sea-Tac apron, spent an hour flying the aircraft in the sky while speaking to air traffic control who urged him to land the plane.
Russell seemed to have no intention to land the aircraft and officials have stated he seemed ‘suicidal’.
His family noted: “It may seem difficult for those watching at home to believe, but Beebo [Russell’s nickname] was a warm, compassionate man”.
“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”.