Case closed: FBI says plane thief acted alone

Horizon Air plane
A video by John Waldron shows the stolen Horizon Air Bombardier Q400 turboprop plane passing overhead on Aug. 10. (John Waldron via KING5 / Twitter)

After a three-month investigation, the FBI has concluded that Horizon Air employee Richard Russell acted alone when he crept into a secure area of Sea-Tac International Airport, stole an airplane and took it on an joyride.

Investigators also said today that Russell crashed the empty Horizon Air Bombardier Q400 turboprop plane intentionally on remote Ketron Island, southwest of Seattle in Puget Sound. About six seconds before impact, Russell pushed the plane’s control column forward to hasten the end, the FBI said.

Cause of death was ruled as suicide.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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