Earlier in the flight, Russell told the air traffic controllers says: "This is probably, like, jail time for life, huh?"
"I've got a lot of people that care about me, and it's going to disappoint them to hear that I did this", the man said. He was in contact with air traffic controllers and described himself as a "broken guy" with "a couple of screws loose".
Two F-15 fighters were scrambled from the Portland airport and followed the plane as it flew over the region, the Federal Aviation Administration reported.
Sheriff's department spokesman Ed Troyer also confirmed that two U.S. Air Force F-15s intercepted the plane within minutes of its departure from Sea-Tac, but they were not involved in its crash near Ketron Island.
The incident is not thought to be terrorism-related.
At a news conference, officials from Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air said that they are working with authorities. "We are giving those investigators our full support and cooperation", Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden said in a statement on August 11.
Alaska Airlines on Twitter said the airplane was a turboprop Q400 airplane belonging to its sister carrier Horizon Air. The aircraft's unpredictable flight pattern terrified onlookers, who got photo and video footage of the plane's ill-fated excursion.
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There was no indication that the incident was an act of terror and no passengers were aboard the plane, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a series of Tweets.
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An ground service agent at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is dead after stealing and crashing a commercial airliner on Friday.
"I'm just amazed that one person affected so many other people", said Leddy.
An airline employee who stole an empty passenger plane from Seattle airport has crashed on a nearby island. There were no buildings hit and no one was killed or injured on the ground.
A transportation security expert says a man who stole a plane from Sea-Tac International Airport in Seattle likely had some pilot training, and military craft that pursued him possibly prevented a tragedy.
Gary Howell, a Wasilla High track and field coach, said he remembered Russell as a amusing guy who also had a smile and a joke and was a great team player.
"Safety is our No. 1 goal", said Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Airlines. He didn't hear the crash, but saw smoke.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) thanked the Air National Guard for scrambling jets to confront the hijacked aircraft Friday night, and lamented that "there are still a lot of unknowns surrounding tonight's tragic incident".