Stolen plane raises security questions

U.S. & World

(NBC News) Investigators are piecing together how an airline ground agent stole an empty Horizon Air turboprop plane and took off Friday night from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle, and later crashed on a small island.

Investigators say 29-year-old Richard Russell navigated the plane across the tarmac and onto a runway. The flight lasted 75 minutes before he died in a fiery crash.

Some in the aviation industry are concerned the incident may have revealed a dangerous flaw in security procedures.

Russell had the same broad security access that thousands of ramp workers and mechanics have.

“We’re fortunate in the sense that it wasn’t a terrorist, someone focused on causing mass destruction. What this incident did was demonstrate a venerability that is still existing here almost 17 years after 9-11,” said former TSA administrator John Pistole.

Airports across the country now consider the possibility of an “insider” attack.

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