ANCHORAGE (KTUU) – The FBI has found that a former Wasilla man commanding a Horizon aircraft from Seattle-Tacoma Airport in…
ANCHORAGE (KTUU) – The FBI has found that a former Wasilla man commanding a Horizon aircraft from Seattle-Tacoma Airport in August acted alone and that his last descent to an island beyond Washington was intentional.
In a press release on Friday, the FBI Seattle Office said it had completed its investigation of the crash and since 28-year-old Richard Russell crashed and worked alone, no federal charges will come from theft.
The FBI presented a timeline of events on the crash day and said there was no motive for Russell’s actions.
Based on the aircraft’s flight recording data, the FBI found that while there was “significant sidelip” on the aircraft at the last minute of the flight, the aircraft was out of control and the final descent appeared to be intentional. “If the pilot had wanted to avoid the impact on the ground, he had the time and energy to pull back the column, raise his nose and start a climb,” wrote the FBI.
The plane crashed in Ketron Island in Pierce County, Washington, southwest of the Sea-Tac airport.
The FBI also listened to the cockpit voice recorder and found no other significant sounds in addition to Russell’s communications on the radio. They found that he did not make any other phone calls from the cockpit or make any other statements that would indicate a motive.
Russell’s work colleagues, friends and family were interviewed. These interviews and a review of text messages exchanged with Russell did not identify anything that suggested a coincidence to a broader site, the FBI said. Nothing in his personal life pointed to a clear motive.
Pierce County Medical Examiner found that Russell died as a result of the traumatic damage from the crash. His death was declared a suicide.
The report says that Russell did not appear to have violated any security or protocols until he took the plane. Some steps he took to remove the plane were documents he was trained to do, and investigators found Internet searches Russell made for flight instructional videos.
The timeline for Russell’s documents that day was issued as follows:
2:36 em ̵
1; Russell arrives at the Port of Seattle operator security station at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for his work shift
2:38 – Russell cleans through security guard without any anomalies
7:15 pm – Russell arrives in a trailer at load 1, at the north end of Sea-Tac airfield
7:19 p.m. – Russell climbs inside Horizon Air Q400 aircraft # N449QX
7:22 p.m. – Russell begins sequence to launch aircraft and propellers begin to turn
7:27 pm. – Russell leaves the plane and uses trailer to turn his nose toward the airfield
7:28 p.m. – Russell returned to the plane
7:32 pm. – The aircraft departs from its parked location
7:33 p.m. – The aircraft takes off from the airport
8:46 pm. – FDR data shows the end of the flight, known to investigators as a crash on Ketron Island in Pierce County, Washington