The friends and family of a man who stole a plane at Sea-Tac Airport spoke Saturday for the first time after the plane crashed.
Richard “Beebo” Russell, a Horizon Air ground service agent, flew the plane for over an hour before it crash-landed on Ketron Island in south Puget Sound on Friday. There were no other passengers or crew on board. Russell’s body has not been recovered.
Mike Mathews, a friend of Russell, said at a press conference the incident came as a “complete shock.”
“It may seem difficult for those watching at home to believe, but Beebo was a warm, compassionate man,” Mathews said.
Mathews said Russell was a faithful and loving husband, friend, and son, and he didn’t believe Russell’s intent was to hurt anyone with his actions.
Read the complete statement from Russell’s friends and family:
On behalf of the family, we are stunned and heartbroken. It may seem difficult for those watching at home to believe, but Beebo was a warm, compassionate man. It is impossible to encompass who he was in a press release. He was a faithful husband, a loving son, and a good friend. A childhood friend remarked that Beebo was loved by everyone because he was kind and gentle to each person he met.
This is a complete shock to us. We are devastated by these events and Jesus is truly the only one holding this family together right now. Without him we would be hopeless. As the voice recordings show, Beebo’s intent was not to harm anyone and he was right in saying that there are so many people who loved him.
We would like to thank the authorities who have been both helpful and respectful, Alaskaair for their resources, the community, his friends and his family for their incredible support and compassion, and Jesus whose steadfast love endures. We’d also like to thank the media for their sensitivity and acknowledging this as the only statement that will be released by the family, and we request that we now be given space to mourn.
At this time the family is moving forward with the difficult task of processing our grief. We appreciate your prayers.
The Family of Beebo Russell
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