Investigators find Seattle flight data recorder

039;Just a broken guy got a few screws loose,' says man after taking passenger plane that crashed near Seattle

His family said in a statement that they were "stunned and heartbroken" over what happened.

Russell, or "Beebo" as some called him, was "a faithful husband, a loving son and a good friend", his family said.

The theft of an empty plane by an airline worker who performed risky loops before crashing into a remote island in Puget Sound illustrated what aviation experts have long known: One of the biggest potential perils for commercial air travel is airline or airport employees causing mayhem.

Referring to audio recordings of Russell talking to air traffic control during his hour-long flight, the statement said his "intent was not to harm anyone".

"Got a few screws loose, I guess", Russell is heard saying in the recording. "They've been trained to turn on and off the plane and things I wouldn't know, that regular ramp agents wouldn't know anything about", said Halbert. "I'm really at a loss for words about what to say exactly, now that I kind of know what happened, I'm at a loss for words, it just doesn't even make sense", said Gary Howell, who coached Russell at Wasilla High School, where he played football, wrestling and track before graduation in 2008. He crashed about one hour and 10 minutes later in a wooded area of Ketron Island in south Puget Sound.

"While the focus of our investigation thus far has centered on Richard Russell, 29, of Sumner, Washington, the FBI is awaiting the results of a review by the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office", FBI Seattle said in a statement obtained by CNN.

The aircraft is owned by Horizon Air, part of Alaska Airlines, who Mr Russell had been employed by for three-and-a-half years as a ground service agent.

Russell is presumed dead in the crash.

Congress is already seeking to tighten the screening of airport employees and may do so with more urgency now, said Mary Schiavo, the former inspector general of the US Transportation Department.

Russell's personal blog, last updated in December, said he was born in Florida and moved to Alaska at age 7 - information that local authorities corroborated, The Seattle Times reported.

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The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is the 9th busiest airport in the country, with more than 45 million passengers that flew through the airport in 2015.

And the USA hasn't imposed similar fitness reporting requirements for other airline employees, such as ramp workers or mechanics, said John Nance, a former airline and Air Force pilot who now works as an aviation consultant.

After making "incredible manoeuvres", he crashed the plane and was killed. He used one to back the plane out of a maintenance area.

The Bombardier Q400 turboprop is designed for short-distance flights and can seat 76 passengers.

Courtney Gregoire, the president of the Port of Seattle Commission, said in an interview Sunday that the port's director of security will meet with officials from a number of airlines who operate at the airport to discuss Friday's incident.

Investigators have recovered and are analyzing the flight data recorder and components of the cockpit voice recorder.

An air traffic controller called him Rich, and tried to convince him to land the plane.

"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?"

"Our hearts are with the families of the individual aboard as well as all of our Alaska Air and Horizon Air employees", said Constance von Muehlen, the airline's chief operating officer.

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