back to top

FBI Opens Investigation Into Plane Crashed By Unauthorized Pilot In Anchorage

The plane was flown by an unauthorized pilot with the civilian volunteer arm of the U.S. Air Force.

Originally posted on
Updated on

A chaotic and scary scene in Downtown Anchorage. Fire department confirms 1 dead in plane crash. NTSB has arrived.

The FBI has opened an investigation into a small plane that crashed into the third floor of a building in downtown Anchorage early Tuesday morning, killing the pilot.

The plane fell to the ground and damaged a second building when it erupted in flames, Anchorage Fire Chief Alex Boyd told BuzzFeed News.

Federal authorities said the Cessna 172S belonged to the Civil Air Patrol, which is a volunteer civilian group with the U.S. Air Force that leads local search and rescue missions.

The Civil Air Patrol pilot identified the pilot as First Lt. Doug Demarest, who joined the Civil Air Patrol in 2010, according to the group's statement to BuzzFeed News.

"The pilot was not authorized to fly the aircraft," it said.

Advertisement

National Transportation Safety Board's chief of aviation safety, Clint Johnson, told reporters that there were no sanctioned flights scheduled for that time of day.

"What we're trying to do is put those parts of the pieces together to see exactly how that happened and how the plane ended up where it is," he said. "We don't know at this point."

FBI Anchorage Division spokesperson Staci Feger-Pellessier declined to give details of the investigation to BuzzFeed News. But emphasized that the agency does not believe it was a terrorist act.

"It's an active investigation," she said in a statement to BuzzFeed news. "At this time, there is no additional information to release."

Parts from the Cessna that crashed in Downtown Anchorage are all over the sidewalk and street.

Federal investigators are examining all potential causes of the crash including high winds in the area, Johnson added.

"Obviously, we had high winds in the area, but we're looking beyond that at this point," he said. "Man, machine and environment are the three areas we look at. Nothing has been eliminated at this point."

The plane will soon be removed from the crash site for further investigation, said Feger-Pellessier.

Anchorage authorities received reports of the crash on the 300 block of K Street downtown at around 6:18 a.m, according to the police department.

The plane struck a transformer box as it fell to the ground which led to power outages in the area.

Firefighters had the resulting fire under control by 7 a.m., but remained on scene mid-Tuesday.

Power was shut down in the area for the investigation. No injuries were reported.

Leticia Miranda is a retail reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Leticia Miranda at leticia.miranda@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.