Anchorage, AK Civil Air Patrol Pilot Kills Himself Intentionally Crashing a CAP Cessna 172 into a Downtown Building, Dec 2015
The [Alaska Wing] pilot who died when the Civil Air Patrol plane he was flying slammed into a downtown Anchorage office building early on a December morning deliberately crashed into the structure, according to federal authorities.
Staci Feger-Pellessier, a spokeswoman for the Anchorage office of the FBI, announced the findings in a short release Monday.
The Dec 29, 2015, plane crash killed the plane’s sole occupant, CAP 1st Lt and nature photographer Doug Demarest.
Demarest took off from Merrill Field at about 6 a.m. that morning, heading west over downtown Anchorage before turning east and shearing off a wing against the northwest corner of the Brady Building on Fourth Avenue. The Cessna 172 crashed into the nearby Carr-Gottstein Building seconds later and caught fire.
Both the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board investigated the crash and found that Demarest “took a CAP plane without authorization from Merrill Field Airport and intentionally flew the plane into a building,” Feger-Pellessier wrote. “Our investigation determined there was no threat to national security and this was an isolated incident.”
Demarest’s wife, Kate Demarest, worked at the legal firm Dorsey and Whitney, whose Anchorage offices were in the Brady Building. She had not yet arrived for work at the time of the crash. A family friend described the crash as a suicide, and the NTSB’s preliminary report on the incident didn’t mention any mechanical issues with the Cessna.
The plane crash in downtown Anchorage late last month that killed a pilot making an unsanctioned flight in a Civil Air Patrol aircraft "incinerated" the remains of the plane, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
The NTSB's preliminary report on the crash that killed Doug Demarest, a first lieutenant in the CAP, was released Wednesday. Demarest was the pilot and sole occupant of a Cessna 172 that took off from Merrill Field before its control tower was staffed at about 6 a.m. Dec. 29.
The plane first struck the Brady Building at 1031 W. Fourth Ave., then the Carr-Gottstein Building -- also known as the whale building -- just east of the Brady. No ground injuries were reported in the crash.
Demarest's wife, Kate Demarest, worked at national legal firm Dorsey and Whitney's Anchorage office in the Brady Building. Jahna Lindemuth, a friend of Kate Demarest, later said the crash was an act of suicide.
According to the safety agency's report, witnesses saw Demarest's plane "flying in an easterly direction and very low over the city of Anchorage" moments before it clipped the Brady Building just after 6:15 a.m.
"The airplane's right wing struck the building between the fourth and fifth floors, which severed the entire wing at the fuselage attachment points," NTSB investigators wrote. "The airplane's wreckage continued traveling east while descending into (the Whale Building). It subsequently struck an electrical transformer, and a post-crash fire incinerated the airplane wreckage."
The report didn't include any discussion of potential mechanical factors associated with the crash.
Weather conditions at Merrill Field at 5:53 the morning of the crash included winds from the south at 8 knots with gusts to 18 knots, with 10 statute miles of visibility and a few clouds at 7,000 feet.
The report confirmed previous CAP descriptions of the deadly flight as unauthorized, saying the investigation is now under the "jurisdiction and control" of the Anchorage FBI office.
FBI spokeswoman Staci Feger-Pellessier said Wednesday afternoon the bureau was awaiting several reports, including one from the State Medical Examiner's Office on an autopsy of Demarest's body, before releasing anything further on its investigation.
- by Chris Klint, Alaska Dispatch News
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