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Man Who Took Plane Was ‘Warm’ And ‘Compassionate’, Family Says

Man Who Took Plane Was ‘Warm’ And ‘Compassionate’, Family Says

Security measures have been stepped up at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, including the maintenance area where a ground support worker commandeered an empty plane for an unauthorized, and ultimately fatal, flight on Friday.

"Oh man. Those guys will rough me up if I try and land there", the man responded, later adding "This is probably jail time for life, huh?" Known to family and friends as "Beebo", Russell died when the plane crashed on a sparsely populated island in the Puget Sound.

Russell is then heard on audio recording: "Nah, I mean, I don't need that much help". "I got a lot of people who care about me, it's going to disappoint them that I did this". Normal operations at Sea-Tac have resumed.

Employees who work in secured areas are physically screened at SeaTac, a layer of security that many airports do not have.

In radio traffic, Russell told air traffic controllers he was a broken guy and had a few screws loose, and police described him as suicidal.

Officials said Russell was a 3 ½-year employee of Horizon Airlines, which is part of Alaska Air Group and flies shorter routes throughout the U.S. West.

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee also thanked the Air National Guard from Washington and OR for scrambling jets. Today, the aircraft crashed approximately 50 kilometers from the airport, near the island of Ketron, reports the Chronicle.info with reference to UNIAN.

Alaska Airlines said they are not ready to share those details but they are providing that information to the FBI and federal regulators. The FBI is now investigating, while Alaska Air is cooperating with authorities and their own safety team to make sense of exactly what went down.

Experts say it's common for airlines to have multiple people working together while moving a plane so the question is how did Russell tow the aircraft alone and get into the plane unnoticed.

"This is a complete shock to us", the family said Saturday night.

The FBI said Sunday night that it had recovered the flight-data recorder and components of the cockpit voice recorder from the wreckage, as well as human remains. "The fact that all of that happened without even being noticed by anyone on the ground service crew, that is just phenomenal to me", said CNN analyst and former FAA safety inspector David Soucie.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said two F-15s were working to redirect the plane out over the Pacific Ocean when it crashed.