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Human remains, plane's recorders found at Ketron Island crash site

The FBI said it has found human remains at the crash site of a stolen Horizon Air passenger plane.

Richard “Beebo” Russell is believed to have stolen the twin-engine Bombardier Q400 from Sea-Tac Airport Friday night.

He flew it for more than an hour before it crashed on Ketron Island in south Puget Sound near Steilacoom.

The FBI said agents also recovered the flight data recorder and “components of the cockpit voice recorder” – a possible indication of the violence of the crash into a heavily forested area.

FBI Special Agent Jay Tabb urged patience with the investigation. “I just want everyone to understand this is going to take a little bit of time,” he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board has the recorders.

The Seattle Times reported that airline and airport officials planned to meet Monday to discuss what further security measures can be taken to prevent another incident like this.

Russell was a Horizon Air employee who was a member of the ground crew. He had authorization to use tow equipment for aircraft.

It’s believed that he towed the big turboprop into position before taking off without permission. He flew around the Puget Sound region, snarling air traffic and scaring people on the ground.

And at Sea-Tac on Sunday, some travelers were worried about how effective current security measures are.

Marc Hornick, who flew in from Boston, said fewer employees should have access to plane cockpits.

“It has to be some electronic way to be issued to those who need it and not for the baggage handlers.”

But Terri Saulter from Connecticut called it a rare incident and said she isn’t worried about it happening again.

“Not at all, I mean sometimes you can’t prevent people from doing what they’re going to do,” she said.

Year started with KUOW: 2015
Angela King is an Emmy-award winning journalist who’s been a part of the northwest news scene since the early 1990s. A proud University of Washington alumna, with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and American Ethnic Studies, she started her career as a news writer in Seattle, before becoming a reporter and anchor in Seattle, Portland and Albuquerque.