Seattle plane thief named as Richard Russell

Richard Russell, a 29-year-old airline mechanic, has been named as the person responsible for stealing and then crashing an Alaska Airlines aircraft in Seattle.

Mr Russell, known to his friends and family as 'Beebo', posted regularly online about his life of travelling with his "incredible wife" who he met 10 years ago

As word spread through the staff of the Seattle-based airline, friends and colleagues wrote messages of support and sadness online.

One simply read, "I thank god that I got to meet you."

Another called for anyone with issues of depression to open up and ask friends for support.

"If anyone - and I mean anyone - needs someone to talk to about anything, please hit me up. Don't hold it in."

On Friday (US time) Mr Russell stole an Alaskan Airlines Bombardier Q400 aircraft from Seattle's SeaTac Airport, managing to take off and fly around the Seattle area for up to an hour.

Fighter jets were scrambled to tail the plane. Air traffic controllers and pilots spent time talking to Mr Russell, who called himself Russ, talking him through possible outcomes such as a water landing or attempting to land on a longer runway. Mr Russell eventually performed a barrel roll before losing control and crashing into an island south of Seattle.

Mr Russell was born in Florida and moved to Alaska when he was seven. He married his wife after a year of dating in 2011 and they opened a bakery together.

He moved to Sumner, near Seattle, in 2015 so his wife could be closer to her family. Mr Russell's job with the airline meant cheap flights back to Alaska whenever he needed to visit.

In his blog, Mr Russell described the couple as explorers, and being bakers at heart would take time to try different bakeries wherever they went. He said he was studying social sciences and planned to move into more of a management position at the airline, or perhaps into the military.

Where to find help and support: