"This is probably jail time for life, huh?" he later asks, according to a recording provided by the Seattle Times. "They're not as easy to fly as, say, a Cessna 150, so I don't know how he achieved the experience that he did", Beck said. Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess.
Video taken by a bystander showed the 76-seat plane making a big, slow loop-the-loop as F-15 fighter jets gave chase, then flying low over Puget Sound before crashing into Ketron Island, a sparsely-populated area in the northwestern U.S. state of Washington.
Two f-15 fighter jets were scrambled from Portland to intercept the stolen aircraft.
According to the unverified Twitter profile of the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, the plane was stolen by a mechanic from an unknown airline company, based on preliminary information.
Family members of Richard Russell say they are "stunned and heartbroken" after the airline worker stole a passenger plane Friday from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and was killed when he crashed 25 miles away.
In a bewildering move, a Horizon Air employee stole an Alaska Airlines plane on Friday and flew it erratically until crashing into an island nearby. While Russell was in the air performing hard maneuvers in the air Amy Leddy says her Alaska Airlines flight and the flights of hundreds of other passengers were delayed.
Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said the man "did something foolish and may well have paid with his life". "We are working background on him now", the sheriff's department tweeted. So many bags, " he said.
"The tow team has access to talk to air traffic control". Authorities said they don't think he had a pilot's license and aren't sure how he was able to take off, much less perform complicated tricks in the air like a "barrel roll". "Never knew it, until now".
In addition to disrupting air traffic control, the incident also caused alarm among locals, many of whom recorded the incident.
"Last night's event is going to push us to learn what we can from this tragedy so that we can ensure this does not happen again at Alaska Air Group or at any other airline, " said Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Airlines. "No others involved", Sheriff's Office said.
Shortly before crashing into Ketron Island, Russell said he was hoping to "have this moment of serenity".
A witness on the ground, Bryan Sichley, said he was at Chambers Bay in University Place and saw a plane nose dive after being chased by two fighter jets.
"I've got a lot of people that care about me".
President Donald Trump was briefed and the White House praised authorities´ quick response to the crisis.
After the plane approached Ketron Island, Waldron saw a thick column of smoke followed by a loud explosion, he said.
Gov. Jay Inslee thanked the Air National Guard from Washington and OR for scrambling jets and said in a statement "there are still a lot of unknowns surrounding tonight's tragic incident".