The Horizon Airlines employee who stole a plane from Sea-Tac International Airport and crashed it in a South Sound island talked about his state of mind, his job and that he made minimum wage during his unauthorized flight Friday night.
About 45 minutes into the erratic flight, Richard Russell was recorded on audiotape mentioning Horizon Airlines and the low wage they pay him.
"Minimum wage, we'll chalk it up to that. Maybe that will grease some gears a little bit with the higher-ups," he said.
Co-workers tell KING 5 working on the ramp at Horizon is an understaffed, grueling grind where employees aren't treated with respect. Some said the work culture most likely prompted Russell to teach the bosses a lesson.
"He was going to show them that they pushed a good guy to his limits," said one worker.
But on his active social media accounts, Russell isn't venting about poor pay or intolerable working conditions. He posts pictures where he looks proud to be on the tarmac. And he writes about the great airline benefits of free travel, with trips to France, Mexico, ski resorts, Ireland and Alaska.
WATCH: Who is Richard Russell
In a video he posted, Russell says, "Hi, I'm Beebo (Richard) Russell, and I'm a ground service agent. That means I lift a lot of bags.... but it allows me to do some pretty cool things too."
Russell's blog also shows a fascination with aviation in general, posting notes about a personal logo he's creating, including sketches of a ramp worker, airlines and a specific reference to a Q400, the exact type of plane he stole and crashed.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were focusing their efforts on recovering the pilot and flight data recorders from the crash scene on Ketron Island, where the plane crashed.
AvTech Services, a Kent-based company that specializes in aircraft recovery and hauling, boarded a ferry to the crash scene Sunday morning. AvTech has previously worked in aircraft accident investigations with the NTSB and the FAA.
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