THESE are the first pictures of Horizon Air employee Richard Russell who died after crashing a stolen plane on an island outside Seattle.
The “suicidal” ground service agent, 29, was filmed doing loops and other air stunts in the aircraft after staging an unauthorised take-off.
He was chased by two military jets before crashing on Ketron Island in Puget Sound, along the northwestern coast of Washington state, US.
He is presumed dead after the incident.
Speaking to the Seattle Times, a retired Horizon Air operational supervisor said Richard was “quiet guy” who was seemingly well-liked by colleagues.
“I feel really bad for Richard and for his family,” Rick Christenson added.
“I hope they can make it through this.”
Mr Russell was followed by fighter jets as air traffic controllers and pilots tried to get him to land.
He failed to respond to their commands to head back to the airport in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington state, instead performing stunts and joking with them.
At one point he said: “This is probably jail time for life, huh? I would hope it is for a guy like me.”
Mr Russell from Sumner in Washington came down with the Alaska Airlines plane near Ketron Island and fire crews had to wait for ferries to get to the scene.
He moved to the area in 2015 after selling the bakery he owned with his wife in a bid to live closer to their families.
Speaking during the incident, Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, said that the man was suicidal and there was no connection to terrorism.
The sheriff’s department said they were working to conduct a background investigation on the man.
He told air traffic controllers that he was a “broken guy” but also joked about whether the airline would hire him as a pilot if he landed safely.
He also said he didn’t want to land at a nearby military base, telling ground crews “those guys will rough me up if I try and land there”.
“I feel really bad for Richard and for his family”
During another part of the exchange, Richard said he was concerned he was going to run low on fuel.
Later, he said he’s “got a lot of people that care about me” and that he had used flight simulators but wasn’t interested in landing the plane.
He said he didn’t want to disappoint them but that he was “just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess”.
It was initially reported that the man flying the plane was a mechanic, however it was later clarified that this was not the case and he was a member of ground crew.
Richard is thought to have worked for Horizon Air for nearly four years – as a ground service agent and as an operations agent.
According to a post on his blog around two years ago, he was born in Key West, Florida, but moved to Wasilla, Alaska, when he was seven.
In 2010, he met his “incredible” wife Hannah in Oregon.
“They tied the knot a year later before opening a bakery together.
However, they apparently decided to sell the bakery and move in 2015 “because we were both so far removed from our families”.
Richard writes: “Failing to convince Hannah of Alaska’s greatness, we settled on Sumner because of its close proximity to her family.
“I, meanwhile, obtained a job working for Horizon Airlines (partnered with Alaska Airlines) so I’m able to fly to Alaska at my leisure.
“In this season of life we enjoy exploring as much as possible, whether its a day (or so) trip to one of Alaska Airline’s destinations, or visiting a new area of Washington.”
He adds: “Once I earn my Bachelors in Social Sciences I will either seek a management position where I’m at now, or possibly join the military as an officer.”