Passenger plane reportedly hijacked over Libya lands in Malta (image: screengrab/Twitter)

Newly-released surveillance video shows the harrowing moment a baggage handler at Seattle Airport stole an Alaska Airlines plane and took it for a joyride before fatally crashing it into a remote Washington island.

The airport CCTV footage of the Aug. 2018 incident was released by the authorities at the Port of Seattle.

Richard Russell, a 29-year-old ground control agent, is seen passing through airport security at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with the words, "the Sky's no limit" written on the back of his t-shirt. He is then seen walking into a restricted area meant for baggage handlers.

Five hours later, Russell is seen getting onto a tarmac tow vehicle in the cargo area of the airport and then dragging the propeller aircraft, Horizon Air Bombardier Q400, he was set to steal back out onto a taxiway.

Russell, who had no previous piloting experience, jumped onto the plane and took off.

"Seattle ground Horizon guy. About to take off. It's gonna be crazy," he radios the control tower, according to the video provided to local Seattle news outlet KOIN.

Air traffic control tried to make contact with the plane, but received no response.

"Hey, I found myself in a predicament. I'm in the air right now. And just gonna soar around," Russell can be heard saying over the radio.

The FBI had previously said that although Russell did not have a pilot’s incense he knew how to work the plane from his experience as an airport employee working for Horizon Air, a regional subsidiary of Alaska Airlines.

"He needs some help controlling his aircraft," an air traffic controller said, after the takeoff.

To which Russell responded: "Nah, I mean, I don’t need that much help. I’ve played some video games before."

Russell flew the plane for 73 minutes. Video shot from the ground later shows him performing stunts over Puget Sound before crashing it into Washington’s Ketron Island, which has fewer than 20 residents.

"I got a lot of people that care about me. It’s going to disappoint them to hear I did this," Russell hauntingly said moments before his death.

Following an investigation into the case, the FBI decided not to file charges.

"Given the death of Russell and his lack of co-conspirators, the FBI will not be pursuing federal charges," a statement read.

His death was ruled a suicide. The Medical Examiner’s Office noted: "There is sufficient evidence to conclude the death was intentional."

Richard Russell
“It’s gonna be crazy,” Russell told air traffic control before taking off. (image: Richard Russell blog).

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