Experts are trying to determine exactly how a suicidal baggage handler was able to hijack an empty Alaska Airlines plane from Seattle airport and perform advanced stunt maneuvers before crashing to his death. . .
“They don’t necessarily use a key so there’s a switch that they use to start the aircraft,” National Transportation Safety Board official Debra Eckrote said Saturday as she spoke with media about the theft of Horizon Air Q400. . .
Russell had a security clearance that allowed him access to the planes, but lacked a license to fly it.
Video shows stolen Horizon Air passenger plane flying erratically – turning upside-down midair and doing loops – after a ground employee stole it from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Friday. https://t.co/t4Ld6f7E6H pic.twitter.com/Z4AlQ3OHSR
— ABC News (@ABC) August 11, 2018
“He did say he spent a lot of time with video games,” said Mark Rosenker, a former chairman of the NTSB, told CBS News. “There are video games that deal with a simulation of this aircraft. And the fidelity is amazing. You could learn a great deal from playing these types of games.”
Witnesses filmed the plane performing barrel rolls and loop-the-loops during a 90-minute joyride. Military planes pursued the plane, chasing it away from highly-populated areas. The plan flew toward Ketron Island where it crashed into a ball of fire, reports state. At one point, he flew the plane upside-down. (Read more from “How Did an Aircraft Thief Takeoff Without a License or Clearance? Here’s What Experts Believe.” HERE)