A new video released by a US news channel shows how in 2018 Richard Russell managed to get past Seattle airport security and then steal a plane and crash it on an islandone of the most serious airport incidents in the country since the terrorist attacks of September 2001.
The images show how Russell, at that time a 29-year-old ground security agent, goes through the airport controls without anyone stopping him.
Short dress and a shirt that says The sky’s no limit (The sky is not a limit) with an image of an airplane, the man passes the instance without problems.
Richard Russell was a ground security agent at the Seattle Airport. Photo: Reuters
The video also shows how, five hours after entering the restricted area of the airport, Russell Alaska Airlines Q400 Turboprop plane stolen in front of everyone without anyone stopping him.
He first pulls the aircraft out with a tow vehicle and then climbs in, while the daily activity around him continues unabated. However, in the control tower they had already realized that something was happening and the first alarms began to sound. Despite this, Russell managed to get the plane off the ground..
The airport cameras recorded both the takeoff and the first moments in which the man flew around the place. By this time, the control tower was already talking to Russell, asking him to try to avoid populated areas and telling him how he could land the plane.
Russell said several things to the air operators during the 90 minutes that his flight lasted, and he even allowed himself to joke. At one point he asked If maybe I could get a job as a pilot if he successfully landed the aircraft.
To his friends, Richard Russell was a hard-working man and a joker. Photo: Reuters
At another time, he asked them if he would receive a life sentence for what he had done. He didn’t wait for the operators to speak before answering himself: “is what corresponds to someone like me“.
Without knowing Russell’s motivations, the authorities decided to send two F-15 military planes to chase him, fearing that it could become a terrorist attack. After investigating the episode, the FBI ruled out this possibility and clarified that the man acted on his own.
Near the end of the hour and a half that his flight lasted, Russell asks the airline operators to pass a message to his family in which he apologized for what happened: “There are many people who care about me and they are to disappoint to hear that I did this. I would like to apologize to each and every one of them. I’m just a broken man, got some loose screws I guess. I never really knew until now”, were the words of him.
Shortly after, Russell crashed the plane on the island of Ketron, 48 kilometers from the airport. He was the only passenger on board and his death was ruled a suicide.
The investigation into the tragedy of Richard Russell
The theft of the plane and the suicide of Richard Russell generated confusion among his relatives. Some of his friends told the media that he was a hardworking and joking personwhile his family released a statement saying they were “completely in shock.”
One of the mysteries to be solved was how Russell learned to fly an airplane. According to the investigation, he would not have received flight lessons, but I had learned how to take off the plane by watching videos online. Russell himself, during his conversation with the tower, stated that his experience consisted of “having played video games where you had to fly”.
A series of documents released recently by the FBI indicate that, according to relatives, Russell seemed restless days before the episode.
“Russell’s employer indicated that he had no personal problems with the company,” the report explained. “Russell was known as a quiet guy who read a lot. He had a few unexcused absences, but nothing that would be considered significant.”
Other witnesses said that Russell “did not go to work on August 3 and that had expressed feeling as if he was not up to the task of what others expected of him.” They added that he went to work on August 4 to try to grab a shift, but the next day “it seemed strange” and family friends tried an intervention, records show.
“Russell appeared to be doing well to family members post-surgery, even though i was drinking moreThe records show. “The week of August 6, Russell appeared to be doing well to family and friends.”
The investigation concluded that Russell had acted alone, and that his only motivation had been to commit suicide.
With information from The Associated Press