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Port of Seattle will spend $325,000 to study stolen plane incident

Richard "Beebo" Russell stole a Horizon airplane from Sea-Tac Airport on Aug. 10, 2018 and crashed it on Ketron Island. (KIRO 7)

The Port of Seattle will spend $325,000 to figure out how an airport employee stole a Horizon plane.

On Tuesday afternoon Port Commissioners voted to approve the funds for an after-action report.

On Aug. 10, airport ground employee Richard “Beebo” Russell stole a Horizon Airlines plane at Sea-Tac Airport. As Russell, who was not a trained pilot, flew the stolen Q400 over the Puget Sound area, an air traffic controller tried to convince him to try to land. The plane crashed on Ketron Island in Pierce County, killing Russell.

In the days after the crash, the Port hired a consultant to study the incident.

On Tuesday, commissioners were asked to approve even more money, a total of $325,000, for an After Action Report. The report will be paid for by airport operating revenue, not tax dollars.

The firm they hired, Ross & Baruzzini, also studied the shooting and mass evacuation at an airport in Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 6, 2017.

Today the firm reassured commissioners they’d get more than a stack of paper, but actual information they can use to improve safety. The report is expected to be completed by January 2019.

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