Seattle residents anxiously watched the skies on Saturday as Richard B. Russell successfully stole an empty passenger plane from the Seattle airport.
Russell worked for Horizon Air which is a subsidary for Alaskan Air Lines as a baggage handler and also towed the planes occasionally. Russell did not have a pilots license, and should not have been in the cockpit.
While in the air, Russell had contact with Air Traffic Control, and talked about a number of things such as the view of the nearby mountains and how he felt comfortable flying because of his video game experience. Russell attempted many tricks including rolling the plane.
Two United States Military Jets were called to assist with guiding the stolen plane out of the sky. The jets did not make physical contact with the plane. The jets are believed to have caused a sonic boom due to the speed they were traveling to catch up to the plane.
About one hour after Russell took off from the Seattle Airport, the plane went down in a fiery crash on a nearby island. Russell did not survive the crash.
Investigators believe that Russell was a troubled man and suffered from suicidal thoughts. This incident will no doubt call into question the level of security in US airports and mental health awareness.