Airport Employee Steals Plane And Does Stunts As F-15 Fighter Jets Scramble

Before he crashed and died, the airline worker who authorities said stole and flew a passenger plane in the Seattle area Friday had a wide-ranging discussion with air traffic control -- at one point expressing confidence in his flying ability because "I've played some video games."

In audio recordings posted on Broadcastify, the man can be heard both resisting and seeking help as a controller and others tried to guide the otherwise unoccupied Horizon Air plane to a landing. The man has been identified as Richard Russell, a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation confirmed to CNN on Saturday night.

Complete story on CNN

The man who stole a plane said he didn't need much help: 'I've played some video games'

Multiple times, a controller tried to persuade Russell to land at the Air Force's nearby McChord Field.

Russell: "Oh man, those guys would rough me up if I tried landing there. I think I might mess something up there, too. I wouldn't want to do that. Oh, they've probably got anti-aircraft!"

Controller: "No, they don't have any of that stuff. We're just trying to find a place for you to land safely."

Russell: "Yeah, not quite ready to bring it down just yet. But holy smokes, I've got to stop looking at the fuel, because it's going down quick."

As a controller tries to relay instructions, Russell wonders about jail time.

Controller: If you could, could you start a left-hand turn, and we'll take you down to the southeast, please?

Russell: "This is probably like jail time for life, huh? I mean, I would hope it is, for a guy like me."

Controller: "Well ... we're not going to worry or think about that. But could you start a left-hand turn, please?

Terry J

Terry J

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I graduated from Louisiana State University (LSU) and yes, I bleed Purple and Gold. Love food! I try to be very active love to watch and participate in sports as well as going for runs throughout the... Read more


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