He was kind and gentle, say death-crash joyrider's family

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He was kind and gentle, say death-crash joyrider's family

As questions hang over Richard 'Beebo' Russell's plane stunt, his 'stunned and heartbroken' family speak out

Julie Allen

The family and friends of a suicidal man who stole a passenger plane from a US airport before crashing it on a remote island described him as a warm, compassionate man.
As investigators try to establish how and why 29-year-old Richard “Beebo” Russell took the aircraft at Seattle-Tacoma airport on Friday, his loved ones spoke out.
Russell, a Horizon Air worker, flew away, performing stunts which he told air traffic controller he had learnt from playing video games.“We are stunned and heartbroken,” said a statement read by a friend. “It may seem difficult for those watching at home to believe, but Beebo was a warm, compassionate man. 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 and we are devastated.
“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.”Two F-15 fighter jets were scrambled to pursue him after the alarm was raised, while the incident has prompted questions about US aviation security.
Despite efforts to convince him to land safely, Russell nosedived into a forest about about 48km away, on Ketron Island. “I think I’m going to try to do a barrel roll and if that goes good I’ll just go nose down and call it a night,” he was heard telling the control tower.
– © The Daily Telegraph

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