The Horizon Air employee who stole an airplane from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has been identified as Richard Russel, also known as Beebo.
Russel hijacked the aircraft, an Horizon Air Q400, which had no passengers on board, on Friday, August 10, 2018, and it was clear that he had no intention of landing it again.
According to a video provided by BBC News, Russel spent a good amount of time in the air, doing several dangerous stunts and talking to the airport staff through the radio before crashing.
Mike Mathews, a friend of Russel's family, said, during a press conference over the weekend, that everyone was stunned and heartbroken because be was a well-loved man.
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"He was a faithful husband, a loving son, and a good friend. A childhood friend remarked that Beebo was loved by everyone because he was kind and gentle to each person he met.”
Mike Mathews, Facebook, August 11, 2018
WHY DID HE DO IT?
Authorities have opened an investigation and are trying to comprehend the reason behind Russel's actions, which eventually led to his presumed dead upon crashing on Ketron Island and igniting a fire.
Based on the conversation between Russel and the air traffic control personnel, he was well aware that people cared about him, but that didn't stop him from stealing the aircraft.
In the recording, Russel can be heard apologizing to his family and saying: 'Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose I guess. Never really knew it, until now.'
While in the air, 29-year-old Russel flew over the airport, risking a collision with other planes, and several neighborhoods, scaring their residents who stepped out of their houses to see what was going on.
A VERY LIKEABLE MAN
According to Brad Tilden, CEO at the Alaska Air Group, Russel had been working as a ground-services employee for the past four years and he was liked by his co-workers.
in December, Russel took to Youtube to share a video in which he spoke about his jobs and his travels, showing several places around the world and private pictures of some good old times.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.