The plane crossed several rows of trees 100 feet high and was dismembered by the crash, which was small enough to be picked up, said Debra Eckrote, head of the West Pacific region, on Sunday.
"You could not even say that it was an airplane apart from some of the larger sections, like the wing section," Eckrote said. "Even the small parts, most of them are not like a plane."
Richard Russell launched into the stolen plane at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Friday night, flying around with military jets pursuing him and crashing for about an hour. The plane of the 76-seater Horizon Air in a wooded island, authorities said.
Russell was the only person on board, said the Sheriff Department of Pierce County. The Sheriff Department described Russell as suicidal, but not exhaustive.
The NTSB recovers the flight data recorder from the crash site, Eckrote said. The recorder is burned but intact, she said and will be shipped tomorrow. She is expected to arrive in Washington on Tuesday, she said. The analysis will start in the middle of the week. It is not known when the full analysis will be completed.
"A complete shock" to the family
The plane crash devastated Russell's family.
"This is a complete shock to us "said the family on Saturday night. "We are shaken by these events and Jesus is truly the only one who holds this family together."
Russell worked for 3½ years as a ground handling service at Horizon Air. His job was to direct airplanes to take off and approach planes, handle baggage, and clean up and defrost planes.
Russell or "Beebo," as some called him, was "a faithful husband, a loving son, and a good friend." his family said. They also said that the 29-year-old was "nice and friendly to every person he met".
Officials do not believe Russell had a pilot's license, and they do not know how he knew to fly the plane. Jeremy Kaelin said he worked with Russell in 2016 and remembered "happy, funny" conversations with him in the break room.
"He was a nice guy," Kaelin said. "He was definitely one of the harder workers on the ramps."
Military jets did not crash the plane
Russell had a shift on Friday when he parked a plane in maintenance area Seattle-Tacoma airport said Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Air Group, owner of Horizon Air.
He used a vehicle known as a pushback tractor to move the empty turboprop plane and launched at 7:32 am without a license clock Friday, officials said.
Russell flew for about an hour, talking to the air traffic controllers on a regular basis, spinning and even some aerobatic maneuvers as two armed F-15 jets followed him, officials said.
Video of a witness on the ground showing the plane at a point, pulling up for a loop, turning the plane upside down, then retreating only a few feet above the water.
The plane eventually crashed on the sparsely populated Ketron Island off the woods and killing Russell. Nobody outside the plane was injured, officials said.
The cause of the crash was not immediately known, but the authorities said the F-15 had not brought the plane.
 While the crash killed only Russell, the theft of a commercial airline from a major US airport revealed a gap in the airline's safety.
The FBI said it does not consider the incident a terrorist one. Authorities will try to put together a security scare of this size at the major airport.
Experts said the crash was uncovering alarming loopholes in airport security, and is likely to trigger an important review of industry security measures ,
"This will be an important learning event for the industry," said CNN aviation analyst Justin Green. "That's a really big deal."
Russell managed to steal the 76-seat Horizon Air turboprop himself from a maintenance area. He was in uniform, had good credentials and was allowed to be in safe aircraft areas, said Tilden, the airline's CEO.
"You are a member of the credentials They are there to work on the aircraft Aviation in America The doors of the aircraft are not locked like a car There is no ignition key like a car In aviation in america we secured the airfield, "said Tilden.
Russell seemed to be breaking the log several times. He could not have climbed the plane alone and gone unnoticed. He also moved the plane himself while the protocol called for two people to tow an airplane.
"That he was out there himself, carrying the plane himself … and then shoving the tracker out of the way, so he I could get on the plane and move – the fact that all this happened without anyone On the ground service crew, that's just phenomenal for me, "said CNN analyst and former FAA security inspector David Soucie.
CNN's Nicole Chavez, Dan Simon, Jason Hanna, Mark LeBien and Ray Sanchez have contributed to this report.