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Air traffic controllers tried to talk pilot down

A Horizon Air Q400 turboprop was stolen at Sea-Tac Airport, then later crashed on Ketron Island in North PierceCounty, Friday, August 10, 2018. (Photo: KOMO News/Air 4)

Air traffic controllers were in contact with the pilot, who ABC News has now identified as Richard Russell from Pierce County, during his flight. At times, he sounded distraught.

Pilot: "I got a lot of people that care about me and it's going to disappoint them to hear about this. I would like to apologize to each and every one of them. Just a broken guy. Got a few screws loose, I guess. Never really knew it until now."

At one point, controllers tried to convince him to land the plane at the McChord runway at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Controller: "There is the runway just off to your right side in about a mile. Do you seen that? That's the McChord field."

Pilot: "Oh man, those guys will rough me up if I tried landing there. I think I might mess something up there, too. I wouldn't want to do that. They probably got anti-aircraft!"

Controller: "Nah, they don't have any of that stuff. We're just trying to find a place for you to land safely."

Pilot: "Yeah, I'm not quite ready to bring it down just yet. Holy smokes! I gotta quit looking at the fuel 'cause it's going down quick."

Controller: "If you could, could you start a left hand turn? And we'll take you down to the southeast please."

Pilot: "This is probably jail time for life, huh? I would hope it is for a guy like me."


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