Airplane theft shows potential dangers from airline workers

The crash of an aircraft taken by an airline employee at Seattle-Tacoma global airports is expected to have implications for airport security and screening around the world, an aviation expert says.

He had worked for Horizon Air for 3-1/2 years and had clearance to tow planes, Alaska Airlines Chief Executive Brad Tilden said at the news conference.

Authorities initially said the man was a mechanic, but Alaska Airlines later said he was believed to be a ground service agent employed by Horizon.

But she also said the airport, often known as Sea-Tac, will work on possible security improvements.

Authorities were reportedly trying to intercept the plane with an F-15 aircraft. While in the air, he joked for almost 20-minutes with an air traffic control agent, but also called himself "just a broken guy" who was likely disappointing the many people who care about him. I would like to apologize to each and every one of them.

On Friday night, the 29-year-old Sumner, Wash., man hijacked a 76-seat Q400 aircraft belonging to Alaska Airlines' regional carrier Horizon Air and performed aerial acrobatics before crashing into the nearby Ketron Island, officials said.

It is reported that the aircraft crashed near Ketron Island outside Seattle.

Officials don't believe Russell had a pilot's license, and they don't know how he knew to fly the plane.

The incident shut down the airport for some hours.

The Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating the incident. "We know who he is".

This is a developing story, more information to come.

The incident closed the Seattle airport to arrivals and departures for a short time, but flights have since returned to normal.

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"Unfortunately you can go to any YouTube channel and put in Q400 startup or 737 startup and you'll have someone going through the sequence".

"The responding fighter pilots flew alongside the aircraft and were ready to do whatever was needed to protect us, but in the end the man flying the stolen plane crashed", Inslee said.

Authorities say Russell used a machine called a pushback tractor to first maneuver the aircraft, which was in a maintenance area.

He continued: "I don't want to hurt no-one".

A sheriff's department spokesman said the man may have been suicidal but there was no terrorism connection. His responsibilities included towing and pushing aircraft for takeoff and gate approach, de-icing them and handling baggage.

"I'm going to do a barrel roll real quick ..."

"We probably need to do a bit more in terms of security and screening than we already do".

Port of Seattle Commissioner Courtney Gregoire called the theft from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport "truly a one-in-a-million experience", but added, "That doesn't mean we can't learn from it".

In partial recordings of Russell's conversations with air traffic controllers that were published online by, he said he was sorry to disappoint people who cared about him and described himself as a "broken guy".

"People rarely self-report to a high degree, even when they are having medicals". The ran a bakery for three years before they chose to move again to be closer to their families.

"In this case the explosives were, metaphorically, in the head of the individual concerned". His identity and condition are unknown.

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