Alio Fan woke up aftermost Saturday morning and clicked on a articulation recording addition had beatific him. It was his adolescence friend, Richard Russell, talking to air cartage controllers, a chat that was afresh advertisement all over the world.
“Rolling out of bed and audition his voice,” Fan recalled, “My antecedent acknowledgment was ‘oh what affectionate of antic is he playing. This is activity to be hilarious.'”
The Russell he knew had consistently been a jokester, the chic clown. “I aloof anticipation it was addition one of his jokes,” Fan said.
A anniversary afterwards Russell blanket a 76-seat commuter even from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, traversing the Puget Complete arena for added than an hour afore aition to his afterlife on Ketron Island, there are few hints as to why he did it or how he was able to fly a bartering airplane. Accompany and above colleagues can’t appreciate how the smart, funny, quiet man they knew could accept agitated out such a abominable heist.
Mike Criss, a ancestors friend, whose son had been aing accompany with Russell back additional grade, said that he’d aftermost talked to Russell in February.
“He articulate aloof altogether fine,” Criss, apropos to Russell by his nickname, told the Anchorage Daily News, which formed in cooperation with The Seattle Times on this story. “Just the aforementioned old Beebo.”
Criss said his son talked to Russell the anniversary afore the blast and annihilation seemed amiss.
Russell’s ancestors has beneath to animadversion above a account issued the day afterwards the crash. “This is a complete shock to us,” his ancestors wrote.
A man who answered the aperture at the Graham home of Russell’s mother-in-law Wednesday fabricated it bright that the ancestors did not intend to animadversion further.
David Odell, pastor at Russell’s Auburn church, additionally beneath to altercate Russell, citation the family’s wishes. “In the account area it says it’s a complete shock, it’s aloof 100 percent true,” Odell said.
“Eager to experiment”
Russell, 29, was built-in in Key West, Florida, and confused to Wasilla, Alaska, back he was 7, according to a blog he created for an online communications chic at Washington State University. Criss said that Russell never talked about planes or aerial as a kid.
He played football and competed in clue and acreage at Wasilla High School, according to a bounded newspaper, admission in 2008. He confused to Coos Bay, Oregon, accessory Southwestern Oregon Community College, area he met Hannah Stracener at a abbey acquisition in 2010. They affiliated a year afterwards and afresh opened a bakery that they ran calm for three years.
They rose calm at 5 a.m., advancing breads and pastries in a boutique that was little added than an oven, a bore and a brace counters, according to an commodity at the time from the Coos Bay World. They had altered personalities. Hannah, who had gone to comestible school, was “detail oriented” and ran the show, the bi-weekly reported, while her bedmate was added above and “eager to agreement with new and agrarian recipes.”
They confused to Sumner in 2015, to be nearer to her family, Russell wrote on the blog, and he got a job alive for Horizon Air. He additionally enrolled at WSU, and accelerating in 2017 with a amount in amusing sciences, the abettor said.
Russell was a ground-service abettor at Horizon, allotment of a two-person “tow team” that angry about airplanes. He was consistently abandoned in cockpits, for stretches that ranged from 10 to 45 minutes. He angry on planes’ abetting ability units (essentially the battery), announced with air cartage controllers and would accept acclimated the planes’ brakes in an emergency, but would never accept angry on the engines or propellers, above co-workers said.
Mary Schiavo, an aerodynamics advocate and above ambassador accepted of the Department of Transportation, acclaimed that pilots are never abandoned in the cockpit, consistently adapted to be aing by a colleague, but ground-service agents access the cockpit alone, with their accomplice active the pushback tractor on the ground.
Russell’s affecting annexation and blast prompted added aegis checks at Sea-Tac and calls for a civic analysis of aegis measures.
“Chalk it up to that”
Former co-workers call a quiet, affable guy who apprehend a lot and admired the chargeless biking allowances that came with alive for an airline. But four above ground-service agents who formed with him keyed in on one band from the cockpit recording, a complaint about accomplishment and a dig at management.
“Minimum wage, we’ll book it up to that,” Russell said on the flight radio to air cartage controllers. “Maybe that will grease some apparatus a little bit with the higher-ups.”
Russell’s above co-workers declared Horizon as an generally abhorrent abode to work, area workers were pushed hard, underappreciated and agitated a faculty of affliction that they were paid beneath than SeaTac’s acclaimed $15 an hour minimum wage.
It’s a complaint that Russell himself echoed in social-media postings, acquainted the dichotomy amid a grueling, low-paying job and the drifting trips that the job let him take.
“I never anticipation I would assignment as a arena account agent,” Russell wrote. “It seemed like such afflicted assignment and I never could brainstorm why anyone would appetite to accountable themselves to all the connected noise, gas fumes, and abundant appropriation … I would like to address this blog to the activity of a ‘ramper’ and highlight the arresting adverse amid our assignment and rest.”
In a video Russell made, he focused on the flight allowances that came with his job, which he acclimated for a cruise to France and accepted trips home to Alaska. He additionally wrote about his hopes for the future, which included actuality a administrator at the aggregation or acceptable a aggressive officer.
Fan, who aftermost saw his adolescence acquaintance aftermost year back they met up for a night of pizza and beer in Las Vegas, said the biking allowances were important to Russell.
“He capital to advice out his ancestors the best he could by, A, authoritative money and then, B, so his mom and ancestors could biking around,” Fan said.
But addition posting, afresh for Russell’s communications class, hinted at a annoyance with his job, admitting one that’s accepted in abounding workplaces.
Russell was interviewing several bearding co-workers about how they admired alive at Horizon.
“I adore that it is a concrete job with a lot of altered tasks you can partake in. I adore the adaptability of the agenda and the flight benefits,” one accessory told Russell. “I do not adore management.”
“Agreed,” Russell said.
Brandon Brown, who formed as a Horizon ground-service abettor for six years, afore abrogation in 2017, said he acclimated to allocution with Russell about trips they would take. Russell, he said, was consistently affable and was consistently account in what little bottomward time they had.
“Every time he’d appear into assignment he’d consistently accept a assemblage abounding of books,” said Brown, who didn’t anamnesis the titles. “He was the nicest guy. Sometimes you can assignment at places and some of the bodies there you’d anticipate article was a little off with them, I never in a actor years anticipation that about him. I aloof don’t understand.”
SeaTac was the aboriginal burghal in the country to accession its minimum allowance to $15 an hour, paving the way for abundant beyond cities like Seattle, San Francisco and New York.
But SeaTac’s law didn’t awning everybody — accurately it doesn’t administer to airline employees, like Horizon ground-service agents.
Brown said the starting allowance for ground-service agents was about $12 an hour.
“It didn’t sit able-bodied with people,” Brown said. “You had bodies up alive in the restaurants, everybody abroad at the airport fabricated $15.”
Horizon beneath to altercate accomplishment either for Russell or for his application position and didn’t acknowledgment questions about the abode ability or complaints aloft by employees.
“Our focus continues to be acknowledging our employees, accouterment abutment for his ancestors and allied absolutely with the investigation,” Horizon backer Bobbie Egan said. “It wouldn’t be adapted to brainstorm on his motives.”
One Horizon flight accessory said she accepted to see and apprehend from administration the day afterwards the break-in and crash. But, she said, that didn’t happen. Instead she begin root-beer floats from the aggregation in the breach room. Egan said the airline has been accouterment food, affliction attorneys and emotional-support animals to employees.
Horizon ground-service agents are additionally one of the few nonunionized groups of alley workers at Sea-Tac.
“We were overworked, acutely underpaid,” said Austin Duerr, who formed for Horizon from 2007 to 2012. “We allocution about abode culture, what is the ability of an organization? If there was one chat or two words, it would be abortive and toxic.”
Another above ground-service agent, who formed with Russell but asked to abide bearding because he still works at the airport, said access agents talked about their accomplishment on the alley “all the time.”
“This is activity to complete bad, but I’m affectionate of afraid it took as continued as it did afore article happened,” the above artisan said.
“Just a burst guy”
But lots of bodies get pushed at work, ambition they were paid added and accuse about management. They don’t abduct airplanes.
Fan, Russell’s adolescence friend, charcoal in atheism that his acquaintance absolutely did this. And Russell’s description of himself on the cockpit audio — “just a burst guy, got a few screws apart I guess, never absolutely knew it until now” — is at allowance with Fan’s memories of his friend.
He remembers growing up in Wasilla, camping and video amateur and architecture forts in the woods. They approved to charm “The Lord of the Rings” and invented a d alleged “poop ball,” that complex paint, spinning chairs, a accessory and an oar. He never talked about any mental-health issues, Fan said.
“He was consistently happy, every time we saw him, it was like he had these behemothic ear-to-ear grins,” Fan said. “Myself, my friends, everybody, we’ve been talking to anniversary added and we’re all like, ‘Why?’ I don’t understand.”
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