Stolen Alaska Airlines plane crashes after unauthorized takeoff from Seattle-Tacoma airport

Alaska Airlines planes are seen at Seattle Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac Wash. Oct. 30 2013

Officials said the plane later crashed into the sea.

Now, officials know what Richard Russell was doing. Airport officials are now discussing how to prevent something like this from happening again. Without pilot training, Russell got behind the controls and positioned the plane for an unauthorized takeoff.

"Gov. Jay Inslee thanked the Air National Guard from Washington and OR for scrambling jets and said in a statement "there are still a lot of unknowns surrounding tonight's tragic incident". Video showed fiery flames amidst trees on the island, which is sparsely populated and only accessible by ferry. No structures on the ground were damaged by the plane, which sparked a small wildfire.

"You couldn't even tell it was a plane except for some of the bigger sections, like the wing section", Eckrote said. "I think I might mess something up there too".

The FBI said Sunday night that it had recovered the flight-data recorder and components of the cockpit voice recorder from the wreckage, as well as human remains. He died when the plane crashed after a 90 minutes "joy ride".

In the audio recording, the man can be heard starting to worry about how much fuel he had on board. Two military planes were soon in pursuit, and tailed the man for the rest of his journey around Seattle and Puget Sound.

Pressed to land at Joint Base Lewis McChord, the pilot nervously joked about the fighter jets chasing his aircraft "They probably got anti-aircraft!"

He said over the radio:"I got a lot of people that care about me and it's going to disappoint them to hear that I did this". "But daily when they are showing up for work they are going to go through a physical screening before they can enter a secure area at the Port of Seattle, Sea-Tac International Airport, just like a passenger goes through a physical screening area". He mentioned "having a few screws loose" and demonstrated signs of suicidal ideation.

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"He was a faithful husband, a loving son and a good friend".

The air traffic control staffer assures him they don't have that, and says they just want to find a safe place for him to land. He was only identified as an employee for Horizon Air, in a statement by Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden.

Per CNN, the man also had some freaky and heartbreaking radio correspondence from the cockpit before the 76-seat Horizon Air turboprop went down.

The airline tells The Associated Press that the plane was a Horizon Air Q400 and it believed no passengers were on board.

After an airport employee at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport stole and crashed a plane on Friday night, questions were raised whether something similar could happen in the Cape Fear.

"The greatest threat we have to aviation is the insider threat", Erroll Southers, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and transportation security expert, told The Associated Press. We know who he is.

There was no connection to terrorism, said Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the sheriff's department.

Coaches at Wasilla High School, where Russell was a football player, wrestler and discus thrower, told the Anchorage Daily News they are shocked at the news.

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