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SEATAC, Wash. (AP/KDKA) — The man who stole an empty Horizon Air turboprop plane from Sea-Tac International Airport was Richard Russell, a U.S. official briefed on the matter told The Associated Press.
The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
.@CBSNews has confirmed the identity of the man who stole the Horizon Air Q400 as Richard Russell, 29.
— Kris Van Cleave (@krisvancleave) August 11, 2018
Authorities on Saturday said a 29-year-old man used a machine called a pushback tractor to first maneuver the aircraft so he could board and then take off Friday evening. He was presumably killed about an hour later when the aircraft crashed into a small island southwest of Seattle.
Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, said on Twitter that preliminary information suggests the crash occurred because the man was “doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills.”
There was no connection to terrorism and no others were involved, said Troyer. It was believed the man was killed.
Follow this thread for official info. This is not a terrorist incident. Confirmed info .. this is a single suicide male. We know who he is. No others involved.
— Pierce Co Sheriff (@PierceSheriff) August 11, 2018
The man could be heard on audio recordings telling air traffic controllers that he is “just a broken guy.” An air traffic controller called the man “Rich,” and tried to convince the man to land the airplane.
Russell went by “Beebo” on social media, and on his Facebook page, which had limited public access. He said he was from Wasilla, Alaska, and lived in Sumner, Washington, and was married in 2012.
In a humorous YouTube video he posted last year, he talked about his job and included videos and photos of his various travels.
“I lift a lot of bags. Like a lot of bags. So many bags,” he said.
(TM and © Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)