A 42-year-old pilot was killed in downtown Anchorage on Tuesday when the single-engine plane he was piloting clipped the building where his wife works, crashed into the building next door, and burst into flames. Officials say Doug Demarest, a volunteer with the national search-and-rescue agency Civil Air Patrol, was flying alone in a Cessna 172 when it swiped a six-story office building after 6am and lost a wing. Demarest's wife works at a law firm on the sixth floor; no one was in that part of the building at the time and no injuries were reported on the ground, reports the Alaska Dispatch News. The FBI is investigating after unspecified evidence was uncovered, but a rep says officials don't believe the crash was related to terrorism. "Based on the very limited facts we have, we believe it was a personal tragedy," a rep for the law firm says.
The CAP's national headquarters says Demarest, who joined in 2010, took the CAP plane without authorization, per KTUU. Workers at Merrill Field found a hangar door open during a morning check and "there were no signs of forced entry," a rep says. Witnesses say the plane was flying low and circling the area before the crash. "It flew over us twice," says one witness. "It did a total complete turn and then boom … It was just way low." Officials and witnesses tell the AP there was clear visibility but blustery winds in Anchorage on Tuesday. A neighbor says police cars and emergency vehicles were seen at the Demarests' home after 10pm on Monday—hours before the crash. A police rep says authorities responded to a medic assist call on the Demarests' block but no one was taken from the home and no crimes had been committed. (Read more plane crash stories.)