Police: There was no threat to fly plane into Badin High School

Published: Thursday, March 15, 2018 @ 10:40 AM
Updated: Thursday, March 15, 2018 @ 5:35 PM

Police: There was no threat to fly plane into Badin High School

UPDATE @ 5:35 p.m. 

Hamilton police Chief Craig Bucheit said Thursday afternoon, the investigation reveals there was “no evidence of any threat or plan to attack any person or school.”

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As for the plane operating at a low altitude, Bucheit said police are consulting with the Federal Aviation Administration to determine if any violations of federal aviation regulations occurred. 

UPDATE @ 4:47 p.m.

The pilot involved in today’s incident at Badin High School has been released from police custody “for now” and has not been charged, according to his attorney, Frank Schiavone IV.

The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Aviation Administration are both involved in the investigation, he said.

UPDATE @ 3:20 p.m.:

Badin High School Principal Brian Pendergest held a press conference at the school and said a former student was in custody after allegations he threatened to crash a plane into the Hamilton-area school.

Pendergest declined to name the former student, but said the man graduated from the school in 2017 and had no discipline problems while attending the Catholic school.

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He said the student had earned his pilot license while a student at the high school.

Pendergest said police interviewed two students and a teacher as part of their investigation concerning the alleged threat and low fly-over of a plane earlier today. He said he did not know the nature of those interviews.

He said the small plane flew unusually low around the school and the surrounding neighborhood west of the Butler County city.

The plane, he said, appeared over the school’s air space at approximately 9:30 a.m. and flew overhead in circles for about 15-20 minutes.

UPDATE: 1:55 p.m.

A low-flying plane over Badin High School had school officials rushing outside to gauge whether the aircraft might be a threat to crash into the school. 

According to a statement sent from the Catholic school out to parents, school administrators were acting on a tip from a teacher “that there was reason to believe it was a student who had graduated from Badin” piloting the plane.

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“This plane was flying very low but was never even or below the top of the building. However, with as low as the plane was flying, it did cause us concern,” wrote Badin Principal Brian Pendergest.

Initial dispatch reports indicated a pilot was threatening to crash into the school.

“We have an airport pilot on the phone with us advising us they’re in the middle of a domestic, trying to crash,” according to emergency dispatch traffic obtained by this news organization. “We’re on the phone with the pilot now, stating that that’s what they wanted to do.”

Hamilton police officers also responded to the Butler County Regional Airport investigating a reported threat to crash a plane into the high school, according to Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit.

The school said in a statement that adults exited the school building to evaluate the situation.

“A few adults went out to assess the situation and see where the plane was in relation to the building. After seeing the plane flying lower than would be expected, we contacted the Butler County Airport to make a complaint. We also contacted the Hamilton Police Department to make them aware of the situation. They sent a police officer to the school right away.”

“There was some discussion with authorities about evacuating the building, but by that time the plane had left the area and it was determined there was no need to evacuate or go to a lockdown situation.”

“We have been informed by the Hamilton Police Department that they have the pilot in custody,” he wrote. “I want to assure you that at no time did we receive a threat to our building or our students.” 

The entire message sent to parents is here: 

Dear Parents, 

As I am sure you have seen on social media and on the news channels, there are reports that a graduate of Badin High School had threatened to fly a plane into the school. I want to take this opportunity to clear up the information and let you know the details as we know them. 

There was a small plane that was flying around the school and neighborhood area. This plane was flying very low but was never even or below the top of the building. However, with as low as the plane was flying, it did cause us concern. 

A teacher reported to me that there was reason to believe it was a student who had graduated from Badin. A few adults went out to assess the situation and see where the plane was in relation to the building. After seeing the plane flying lower than would be expected, we contacted the Butler County Airport to make a complaint. We also contacted the Hamilton Police Department to make them aware of the situation. They sent a police officer to the school right away. 

There was some discussion with authorities about evacuating the building, but by that time the plane had left the area and it was determined there was no need to evacuate or go to a lockdown situation. 

We have been informed by the Hamilton Police Department that they have the pilot in custody. 

We continued to work with the Hamilton Police Department throughout the morning and early afternoon. We will continue to work with the HPD as they investigate the circumstances of the incident. 

I want to assure you that at no time did we receive a threat to our building or our students. We take the safety of our students and our faculty very seriously and it is our top priority. I put a short email out and a post on social media to let you know that everything was okay but wanted to take this opportunity to send out more information. 

As we learn more, we will continue to update you. Please know that the information you may hear on the news or on social media may not be accurate. Information you receive from Badin High School and the Hamilton Police Department are the best sources to look at as it relates to this situation.

UPDATE @ 11:15 a.m.: 

Hamilton police have issued a statement, saying students at Badin High School are safe and were not evacuated from the building. 

“We want to reiterate there is no threat to anyone at this time,” Sgt. Brian Robinson said in a release. “There is no plane crash into a school. No students are in danger and no students have been evacuated.” 

We’ll continue to update this page as details become available. 

The campus at Hamilton Badin High School was all clear late morning following an earlier threat that a plane was going to crash into the school.

UPDATE @ 10:59 A.M.

The suspect in the alleged threat to Badin High School was reported to be a former student, according to our news partner WCPO-TV.

WCPO reported that the threat was made because his girlfriend is a student at Badin.

UPDATE @ 10:57 A.M.

Badin High School tweeted that the school was not evacuated as dispatchers reported and that the school is working with Hamilton police.

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INITIAL REPORT

Hamilton police officers are at the Butler County Regional Airport investigating a reported threat to crash a plane into Badin High school, according to Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit.

The school on New London Road was evacuated at about 10:30 a.m. because a plane was flying low, according to dispatchers. The plane landed and is in a hanger.