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By Janelle Griffith
A Horizon Air employee deliberately crashes a turboprop aircraft he stole near Seattle in August, but there was no clear reason he did so, federal investigators said Friday.
The FBI released its findings in two and a half months after Richard Russell, 28, in Sumner, Washington, stole a commuter plane from a Seattle airport and flown it around before crashing on a small island.
The agency said that The probe found no evidence relating to “wider criminal activity or terrorist ideology” and that Russell acted alone in the planning and execution of unauthorized flights.
“Although investigators received information about Russell’s background, possible stressors and personal lives, no element gave a clear motivation for Russell’s actions, the FBI said on Friday.
Russell, who worked for Horizon Air as Land Surveyor, had full jurisdiction and had AC in connection with the area where he took the plane, said the FBI.
“As part of his responsibility as a crew member, Russell had knowledge of the operation of the aircraft’s helicopters and familiarity with the traction equipment and maneuver,” said the agency.
One hour after unauthorized launch, the planet crashed on Ketron Island in Pierce County, Washington, about 40 miles from the airport. Two F-1
5 military jets followed the plane as it was in the air and tried to redirect it across the Pacific when it crashed the North American space defense The command (NORAD) tweeted by that time.
The military councils were not involved in the crash, officials said. It caused a fire on sparsely populated Ketron Island, which is southwest of Tacoma and off the coast of Steilacoom. No one else was on the plane.
Russell’s family said they were “stunned and heartbreaked.”
“We are devastated by these events and Jesus is truly the only one who keeps this family together right now” said one day after the crash. “Without him, we would be hopeless.”