Man Hijacks Airplane For Joyride, Ends In Disaster

A Seattle airplane was hijacked by a ground employee before crashing off the coast on Ketron Island. According to CNN and countless other news sources, the man who stole the plane did it with a shocking case that highlights the necessity for better security on airplanes.

Unlike the 3.2 million skydives that occur each year in the United States, this dangerous event was a once in a lifetime occurrence. Richard Russell, the hijacker, died when he crashed the stolen plane into the nearby island after his hour-long joyride.

Russell has no criminal record, nor did he have any connections to terrorist organizations. In fact, he even described himself as a “broken guy” with “a few screws loose” when speaking to air traffic control. He had no signs of depression, but an old friend of Russell’s claimed he may have had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a rare but severe brain disease that causes symptoms like memory loss, impulsive actions, and thoughts of suicide, some of which played a part in the hijacking.

“There is no protocol to stop an authorized SIDA badged, uniformed employee from accessing an aircraft on the ramp…Furthermore, most airlines do not lock airplanes because access can only be obtained by security-vetted employees through jet bridges and coded door ramp access…A clearance from air traffic control (ATC) to start the plane’s engines is not required,” reported CNN.

These are just some of the issues regarding airplane security. Though no one was hurt in the crash besides the hijacker, Richard Russell, he did not have the proper training to fly an aircraft. However, the hijacker even managed to perform a few rolls and tricks before the plane crashed. This event could have easily ended in an even larger disaster, especially if the 76-seat plane harbored any passengers.

Russell had claimed he learned to fly planes based on video games when he spoke with air traffic controllers during his joyride.

The commissioner of the port of Seattle, Courtney Gregoire, claimed this experience was one in a million. Regardless, Seattle is taking measures to prevent an event like this from ever happening again.

Currently, employees for the airport are already subjected to background and criminal history checks. Additionally, the airport was already in the process of hiring more security personnel for security screenings before the theft occurred.

Regardless, flight is still one of the safest forms of transportation and this event truly was one in a million. When nearly three million people get injured on the road each year in the United States, air travel is still the best way to travel for long distances.

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