Russell was identified widely as the pilot on Saturday morning, with the victim being the sole person involved in the crash. Among those identified were Richard, who was known to be the airline employee, aged 29, that stole the Alaska Airlines plane on Friday night before crashing it into a deserted island near Puget Sound. The last words from Russell were spoken to the air traffic controller in Seattle.
Stunned and sorrowful, those who remained were aware of the sun setting as the passenger plane, trailed by cutting jets of F-15 fighter planes, rolled against it. These were the dramatic moments that preceded Russell’s death.
“There are numerous individuals who adored him,” expressed the man. Beebo’s show was not intended to cause harm, but rather to show compassion and warmth through his recorded voice. Watching Beebo’s show at home may appear challenging for those who believe, but it was a compassionate and warm experience for his family members, said the man.
Russell, an employee of Alaska Airlines’ regional subsidiary Horizon Air, successfully completed the required background checks to perform tasks such as handling baggage and cleaning aircraft. Authorities emphasized that there was no additional information regarding Russell’s motives, apart from the statements he made to air traffic controllers while they attempted to convince him to land. Further information about the apparent suicide was still unfolding as of Saturday.
It is unclear how Russell, who did not possess a pilot’s license, acquired the ability to operate the twin-turboprop Bombardier Q400 that had been left idle for the night. Throughout his conversations with air-traffic controllers, which were documented by aviation journalist Jon Ostrower, Russell frequently mentioned his familiarity with computerized flight-simulator programs or what he referred to as “video games”.
Simulator software that can be easily accessed and used on personal computers is accessible, as stated by experts in air safety. The recordings reveal that when asked by a controller if he required assistance in controlling the aircraft, Russell responded, “I don’t require that level of assistance. I have experience playing video games.”
“I actually hadn’t intended to land it.” He then added: “I am aware of how to deploy the landing gear.” In a subsequent conversation, as recounted by the Wall Street Journal, Russell stated.
The plane crashed at 7.32 pm on Friday after being tailed by F-15 jets from the Tacoma-Seattle International Airport until it flew off towards Ketron Island, located 25 miles southwest of the airport, at 8.47 pm.
In a conversation with the Seattle Times, one of Russell’s previous colleagues depicted him as a reserved, well-liked young individual.
Former supervisor of Horizon Air operations, Rick Christenson, expressed his sympathy, stating, “I have deep regret for Richard and his family. I pray that they are able to overcome this challenging situation.”
The year after getting married, he met a woman in Oregon Bay, Coos, where he eventually ended up. Russell, who described himself as a native of Key West, Florida, moved to Alaska at the age of seven, as stated in his personal blog.
In order to be in closer proximity to Russell’s relatives by marriage, the pair operated a bakery for a span of three years prior to uprooting themselves and relocating to Sumner, a suburb of Seattle.
In December, Russell posted a video on YouTube documenting his journeys to France, Mexico, and throughout the United States. As an employee in the aviation industry, he mentioned in his blog post from two years ago, expressing his joy about working at Horizon Air, “I have the privilege of flying … Whenever I want.”
“Russell penned in the blog,” Exploring a new area in Washington, whether it’s a day trip or a visit to one of Alaska Airline’s destinations, allows us to fully enjoy this season of life.”
Ongoing air safety and criminal investigations are currently underway. It is likely that these investigations will shed light on the preparations made in the event of a fatal flight. Russell does not appear to have had any pilot training.