FBI releases 567-page document detailing 2018 stolen plane investigation

The FBI released a 567-page document revealing details of the investigation into the man who stole a plane from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in 2018.

For about 70 minutes, 28-year-old Richard Russell flew a stolen plane across the skies of Western Washington before crashing it into Ketron Island in Pierce County.

The incident happened on August 10, 2018.

Thursday, the FBI released hundreds of pages of documents that reveal aspects of the investigation. 

Specifically, the documents highlight concerns family and friends had regarding Russell’s demeanor days before the incident and a foreboding letter investigators say they found in a notebook, inside Russell’s work locker.


Airline worker steals empty Horizon Air plane from Sea-Tac Airport, crashes on island in Pierce County

A Horizon Air turboprop was stolen from Sea-Tac International Airport by an airline employee who crashed it onto Ketron Island, in the South Puget Sound.

According to the FBI’s investigation, on Aug. 3, 2018, even days before the incident, Russell skipped work and expressed "feeling as if he was not living up to what others expected of him."

On Aug. 5, 2018, Russell seemed strange and evasive, and family and friends attempted an intervention. The investigation notes, family and friends thought he was also drinking more than usual.

Law enforcement also went through Russell’s work locker and found a notebook with only two pages filled out. 

RELATED: Ground service agent who stole airplane was credentialed

One page was an undefined comment on then President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

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The other page was a note that read:

"He wanted to create something. Something with profound insight and charm. He had once been confident in his writing so he gave that a shot. During one of his many breaks at work he decided to go for it. "Rather than use the down time to escape in books or social media he would use it to benefit his all mankind. He sat I [sic] the corner of the dilapidated locker room searching for the concepts he wanted to convey. What did he know the most about? What did he feel strongly about? Several questions fizzled in his mind but no resolutions were made. It all felt so irrelevant. He was a cure. Nothing was worthy enough for the paper."

Federal investigators concluded that Russell acted alone.


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