Man who stole plane and died in crash had North Dakota ties

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The hijacking of a passenger plane at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport by an airline employee on Friday was, by all accounts, nearly unprecedented. But she said SeaTac airport stakeholders are talking about what more can be done.

"Oh man. Those guys will rough me up if I try and land there", Russell responded.

Ostrower said it is also unbelievable that someone without a pilot's license figured out how to taxi a plane going on an hour-long joy ride.

He then said he would perform a last barrel role before he crashed into a sparsely populated area of Ketron Island.

Earlier Alaska Airlines reported an "unauthorized take-off" of an airplane and witnesses reported a jet being chased by military planes near Sea-Tac International Airport in Washington state.

Russell is then heard on audio recording: "Nah, I mean, I don't need that much help".

There was no connection to terrorism, said Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the sheriff's department. Airport officials said the airline employee had "conducted an unauthorised takeoff without passengers".

Richard Russell was identified as the airline employee who stole flew and crashed a plane from the Seattle Tacoma International Airport
Richard Russell was identified as the airline employee who stole flew and crashed a plane from the Seattle Tacoma International Airport

However, aviation security consultant Jeff Price told the newspaper any changes could have a big impact on the day-to-day running of an airport. "Got a few screws loose, I guess".

Relatives and co-workers identified the man as Richard Russell of Sumner, Washington, who also went by the name Beebo.

He flew the plane for more than an hour, saw the sights, did some risky aerobatic maneuvers and ultimately crashed on Ketron Island while F-15 fighter jets patrolled the skies. "We think about this all the time", Gregoire said.

Officials said Saturday that the man was a 3.5-year Horizon Airlines employee and had clearance to be among aircraft, but that to their knowledge, he wasn't a licensed pilot.

The Bombardier Q400 turboprop is designed for short-distance flights and can seat 76 passengers, Alaska Air said. Two F-15s pursued the plane but were not involved in the crash, the sheriff said.

The company's CEO Brad Tilden addressed the incident in a statement, saying, "We're working to find out everything we possibly can about what happened, working with the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Transportation Safety Board".

Experts said the crash exposed alarming holes in airport security, and is likely to prompt a major review of industry security measures. "The fact that all of that happened without even being noticed by anyone on the ground service crew, that is just phenomenal to me", said CNN analyst and former FAA safety inspector David Soucie.

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