WATCH: Heartbroken Family of 29-Year-Old Seattle Baggage Handler who Hijacked a Plane and Took It for a Joyride Before Crash Landing Says ‘Jesus is the Only One Holding Us Together Right Now’

Richard Russell, a married 29-year-old Horizon Air baggage handler, (seen in his uniform, top right) was remembered in a family statement released at a news conference on Saturday as a ‘faithful husband’ and a ‘good friend’ who was ‘loved by everyone.’ ‘It may seem difficult for those watching at home to believe, but Beebo was a warm, compassionate man,’ they wrote, referring to Russell’s nickname. The statement was read out by friends of the family (bottom right). It described his death as a ‘complete shock’, adding: ‘We are devastated by these events and Jesus is truly the only one holding this family together right now.’ Russell, who has been described by investigators as ‘suicidal’, hijacked the 76-seat plane (middle) at around 8pm on Friday after taking the aircraft from the maintenance area. Although he had security clearance to be near planes, he did not have a pilot’s license and it is unclear how he learned how to fly. One expert said he could have picked up some skills by using a computer flight simulator. Witnesses described seeing the plane performing barrel rolls and loop-the-loops as the military planes directed it away from highly-populated areas and towards Ketron Island, where it crashed into a ball of flame. ‘He did some aerobatics in the airplane that I was shocked to see,’ said Rick Christenson, a retired operational supervisor for Horizon Air. ‘And for him to do that I would think that he either played in a simulator or what. It looked pretty amazing to me. Maybe it was luck, I don’t know.’

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SOURCE: Daily Mail