BREAKING NEWS Protests continue in downtown Lafayette, avoid the area Full Story
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

FBI: Man who stole and crashed commercial airplane acted alone

The airline worker who stole a passenger plane from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in August and died ...

Posted: Nov 10, 2018 7:34 AM
Updated: Nov 10, 2018 7:34 AM

The airline worker who stole a passenger plane from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in August and died after crashing it did so intentionally and acted alone, according to an FBI investigation into the incident released Friday.

Richard Russell, who had a wide-ranging discussion with air traffic control while flying the plane he had stolen, piloted the aircraft into a "final decent to the ground" that was intentional according to the FBI. He did not have any assistance during the incident, the investigation found.

Accidents

Accidents, disasters and safety

Aircraft

Aircraft accidents

Aviation and aerospace industry

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Commercial and general aviation aircraft

Continents and regions

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Government organizations - US

North America

Northwestern United States

Seattle

The Americas

United States

US Department of Justice

US federal departments and agencies

Washington (State)

Accident investigations

Air transportation

Air transportation safety

Air travel incidents

Investigations

Safety issues and practices

Transportation and warehousing

Travel and tourism

Travel safety and security

"If the pilot had wanted to avoid impact with the ground, he had time and energy to pull the column back, raise the nose, and initiate a climb," the report said.

"Extensive investigative activity failed to reveal any additional subject(s) involved in the planning or execution of the unauthorized flight," it said.

Russell, a 28-year-old baggage handler for Horizon Air, stole an empty passenger plane that was parked in a maintenance area and was not scheduled for flight.

After taking off, he told air traffic control he was "just a broken guy."

"I've got a lot of people that care about me, and it's going to disappoint them to hear that I did this," Russell says. "I would like to apologize to each and every one of them. Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess. Never really knew it until now."

The FBI said in a statement that it will not pursue charges over the incident "given the death of Russell and his lack of co- conspirators."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34574

Reported Deaths: 2134
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9853578
Lake3616190
Allen161869
Cass15877
Elkhart132228
St. Joseph127434
Hendricks116971
Hamilton115993
Johnson1105108
Madison58659
Porter53928
Bartholomew51135
Clark50441
LaPorte43323
Howard40828
Tippecanoe4023
Jackson3891
Delaware38537
Shelby37322
Hancock33827
Floyd31839
Boone31535
Morgan27724
Vanderburgh2742
Montgomery24117
White2358
Noble23221
Clinton2321
Decatur22431
Grant21122
Dubois1993
Harrison19422
Henry18211
Greene16924
Vigo1698
Dearborn16821
Monroe16612
Warrick16628
Lawrence16324
Miami1401
Putnam1377
Kosciusko1351
Jennings1304
Orange12822
Scott1203
Franklin1108
Ripley1096
Marshall1082
Carroll932
Daviess8816
Steuben832
Wayne825
LaGrange812
Wabash782
Newton7810
Fayette777
Jasper671
Washington521
Jay520
Clay511
Fulton491
Rush472
Randolph473
Pulaski460
Jefferson451
Whitley423
Starke393
DeKalb371
Sullivan361
Owen351
Brown331
Perry330
Wells320
Benton300
Huntington282
Knox280
Tipton251
Blackford252
Crawford240
Fountain212
Switzerland200
Spencer201
Parke180
Gibson172
Posey160
Adams151
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin110
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0167
West Lafayette
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 73°
Kokomo
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 67°
Rensselaer
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
Fowler
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
Williamsport
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 72°
Crawfordsville
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 66°
Frankfort
Broken Clouds
69° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 69°
Delphi
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
Monticello
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 68°
Logansport
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 66°
Hot, humid weather with severe weather risk.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events