Tags: More | Details | Emerge | Teen | Suicide | Pilot

More Details Emerge on Teen Suicide Pilot

Sunday, 06 January 2002 12:00 AM

British citizen Charles Bishop, 15, an honors student described as a troubled loner with few friends, was not licensed to fly and made an unauthorized takeoff in a Cessna 172-R from the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport Saturday.

The plane crashed into the 42-story Bank of America building shortly after 5 p.m. local time, killing the boy instantly. Katie Hughes, public information officer for the Tampa Police Department, told United Press International that when searching the crash site, investigators found a bag or satchel containing a note "written on a couple of plain white pieces of paper."

"In it he did clearly state he had acted alone, without the help of anyone else," Hughes said. "He did make a statement expressing sympathy toward Osama bin laden and the events of Sept. 11."

Hughes said there was "no evidence to support his connection to any terrorist groups."

There were no injuries reported by any of the building occupants, who were on other floors of the bank building.

Bishop had been taking flying lessons at National Aviation Flight School in St. Petersburg. His grandmother had taken him there for a lesson Saturday afternoon. She said she heard the instructor tell her grandson to check the equipment and then the boy took off in the plane.

Coast Guard Lt. Lance Isaacson said the chase helicopter sent after the youth was flying alongside the Cessna when it hit the building.

Two Air Force F-15s were also scrambled from Homestead Air Force Base near Miami, but they did not reach Tampa before the crash.

The 2000 model year plane belonged to National Aviation Holdings, an affiliate of the flight school. It had a maximum capacity of four people.

WESH-TV meteorologist Mike O'Lenick of Orlando happened to be driving nearby and witnessed the crash. He said he saw the plane and the helicopter flying together. He said the plane appeared to be flying normally before he saw flying glass and the plane stuck in a window of the building.

The plane's tail could be seen hanging from the building after the crash.

Tampa Mayor Dick Greco said it was fortunate the crash had not happened on a busy weekday when many people would have been in the vicinity.

In other apparently unrelated incidents, small-plane crashes were also reported Saturday northwest of Boulder, Colo., and in a vacant lot in the southern California town of Buena Park.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said there was no indication any of the three small-plane crashes were linked to terrorism. "White House staff on the road have been in touch with Gov. [Tom] Ridge [in charge of homeland security], and the president has been briefed," McClellan said. "None of these incidents appear to be related and there's no indication of terrorism."

One person was killed when his single-engine Cessna crashed into a hillside northwest of Boulder, Colo., in high winds Saturday afternoon, authorities told KUSA-TV in Denver.

The plane went down west of U.S. 36 near Neva Road shortly after 4 p.m., according to Boulder County Sheriff's Supervisor Jay Willette. He did not know if anyone else was on board.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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British citizen Charles Bishop, 15, an honors student described as a troubled loner with few friends, was not licensed to fly and made an unauthorized takeoff in a Cessna 172-R from the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport Saturday. The plane crashed into the 42-story Bank...
More,Details,Emerge,Teen,Suicide,Pilot
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2002-00-06
Sunday, 06 January 2002 12:00 AM
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