Seattle airplane theft prompts review of security measures

first_imgSEATTLE — The spectacular theft of a 76-seat plane from the Seattle airport by a ground crew employee is prompting an industrywide review of how to thwart such insider security threats, though it remains unclear what steps airlines might take.“This is too big a deal. It’s not going to go away,” said Glen Winn, a former Secret Service agent who teaches in the University of Southern California’s aviation security program. “There’s going to be a lot of discussion, a lot of meetings, a lot of finger-pointing, and it’s going to come down to: How do we stop it?”Investigators are continuing to piece together how 3½-year Horizon Air employee Richard Russell stole the empty Bombardier Q400 turboprop on Friday evening and took off on a roughly 75-minute flight, executing steep banks and even a barrel roll while being tailed by fighter jets. He finally crashed into a forested island south of Seattle.Russell was killed. No one else was hurt. In conversation with an air-traffic controller, he described himself as “just a broken guy,” said he “wasn’t really planning on landing” the aircraft, and claimed he didn’t want to hurt anyone else.Port of Seattle Commissioner Courtney Gregoire called the theft from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport “truly a one-in-a-million experience,” but added, “That doesn’t mean we can’t learn from it.”last_img

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