Aviation expert discusses airport security after Seattle plane theft

<p>An aviation expert spoke with News 12 about airport security after an airline employee stole an empty commercial plane in Seattle and crashed it into a small island after being chased by military jets on Friday.</p>

News 12 Staff

Aug 13, 2018, 9:36 PM

Updated 2,165 days ago

Share:

An aviation expert spoke with News 12 about airport security after an airline employee stole an empty commercial plane in Seattle and crashed it into a small island after being chased by military jets on Friday.
Sal Lagonia, an aviation attorney and pilot in Yorktown, says more facts need to come out from the investigation before they determine if proper protocol was followed.
Lagonia says it would have been hard to stop the pilot, Richard Russel, from flying the plane.

"This airplane was not at a gate, so it was out in the middle of a maintenance area where it had pretty easy access for someone who was employed by the airline like this guy,” he says.

At places like Westchester County Airport, some wonder if employees should have more limited access to planes.
Richard Russel was a baggage handler, and Lagonia says a move like that would keep workers from doing their job.
"How can we restrict him from having more access? They are putting baggage in the back, we have to trust they will do their job properly,” he says.

Lagonia says it’s also a challenge to get better mental health screening in the hiring process.

“The mental health part of it often goes unfounded because there are so many safeguards in place to have your mental health protected,” he says.
While the investigation may show there needs to be better safeguards with airport employees, Lagonia says these type of incidents are isolated and extremely rare.
“For the most part, airport safety is excellent. This is one incident we hear about and we talk about it for a week. These things don't happen very often,” he says.


More from News 12
1:00
MUST SEE VIDEO: Lightning bolt almost hits New City man

MUST SEE VIDEO: Lightning bolt almost hits New City man

2:31
RELIEF ARRIVES! Sun and clouds with lower humidity today, great weather weekend ahead

RELIEF ARRIVES! Sun and clouds with lower humidity today, great weather weekend ahead

1:47
Thunderbolt 12: Thunderstorms and gusty winds cause damage throughout the Hudson Valley

Thunderbolt 12: Thunderstorms and gusty winds cause damage throughout the Hudson Valley

1:13
Headlines: Teen killed in crash only had learner's permit, nursing home assault, man arrested for threating to blow up social services

Headlines: Teen killed in crash only had learner's permit, nursing home assault, man arrested for threating to blow up social services

1:21
Over 1,200 Hudson Valley homes without power after storms

Over 1,200 Hudson Valley homes without power after storms

0:20
SPCA seeks help finding those who dumped 3 Collie mixes

SPCA seeks help finding those who dumped 3 Collie mixes

1:50
Live the lake life for a day on Lake Mahopac

Live the lake life for a day on Lake Mahopac

0:47
Pedal Your Way to Fun: New Hudson River boat offers unique social experience

Pedal Your Way to Fun: New Hudson River boat offers unique social experience

Hudson Valley Weather Photos

Hudson Valley Weather Photos

0:22
82-year-old man dies after possible drowning at Canopus Lake

82-year-old man dies after possible drowning at Canopus Lake

0:33
Orange County man faces life in prison for hiring hitman to kill neighbor

Orange County man faces life in prison for hiring hitman to kill neighbor

1:25
Police: Death of 2-year-old left in hot car in Monticello under investigation

Police: Death of 2-year-old left in hot car in Monticello under investigation

1:51
Toddler rescued from hot car in Nanuet parking lot after father accidentally leaves keys inside, according to police

Toddler rescued from hot car in Nanuet parking lot after father accidentally leaves keys inside, according to police

0:20
President Joe Biden tests positive for COVID-19 while campaigning in Las Vegas

President Joe Biden tests positive for COVID-19 while campaigning in Las Vegas

1:50
Jury finds Metro-North primarily responsible for 2015 fatal crash in Mount Pleasant that killed 6

Jury finds Metro-North primarily responsible for 2015 fatal crash in Mount Pleasant that killed 6

1:39
‘I thought it looked horrible.’ Ardsley residents criticize design of new village logo

‘I thought it looked horrible.’ Ardsley residents criticize design of new village logo

1:28
News 12 checks in with O& R to see how utility is handling heat, storm

News 12 checks in with O& R to see how utility is handling heat, storm

1:49
New Arts: Westchester CEO gives News 12 sneak peek of new exhibit

New Arts: Westchester CEO gives News 12 sneak peek of new exhibit

0:22
Spring Valley first responders rescue baby deer from drowning

Spring Valley first responders rescue baby deer from drowning

0:35
Mental health care of inmate found dead in Westchester jail questioned in new report

Mental health care of inmate found dead in Westchester jail questioned in new report