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Alaska plane crash was a suicide, family spokeswoman says

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  • A National Transportation Safety Board investigator takes photos at the scene of an aircraft crash on Dec. 29 in Anchorage, Alaska. A small plane clipped a downtown Anchorage office building and then slammed into a nearby commercial building early Tuesday, igniting a fire and killing at least one person aboard, authorities said. (Loren Holmes/Alaska Dispatch News via AP)

  • This Dec. 29 photo shows damage to the corner of The Brady Building after a small plane crashed into it in downtown Anchorage, Alaska. The pilot was not authorized to fly the aircraft used in volunteer search-and-rescue missions, authorities said. (Bob Hallinen/Alaska Dispatch News via AP)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska » The death of a man whose plane clipped one building before smashing into another in the heart of downtown Anchorage was a suicide, a spokeswoman for his family said today.

There’s no reason to think that Doug Demarest was trying to harm anyone but himself, Jahna Lindemuth said.

Lindemuth is a managing partner at the law firm where Demarest’s wife, Katherine Demarest, works. Lindemuth declined to say how the family knew it was a suicide and asked that the family’s privacy be respected.

Clint Johnson, the Alaska region chief for the National Transportation Safety Board, did not immediately return a New Year’s Day call today.

Demarest, 42, was flying a plane owned by the Civil Air Patrol Tuesday when he clipped the building that houses the Minneapolis-based law firm, Dorsey & Whitney, and crashed into an unoccupied commercial building. He died at the scene. No one else was hurt. The crash occurred in the morning, before most businesses opened for the day, in a part of the city surrounded by offices, hotels and restaurants.

Authorities have said that Demarest, who joined the Civil Air Patrol five years ago, was not authorized to fly the aircraft but they’ve released few other details.

The FBI released a statement Wednesday noting that agency policy prevents it from commenting on an active investigation, including “confirming or denying reports surrounding this case other than to reiterate there is no indication this was a terrorist act.”

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    • Mike, I realize you love the above hackneyed sentiment, but could you refrain from using it as a matter of reflex? The time you posted it when a possible Alzheimer’s or dementia related murder/suicide occurred was just short of being insensitive or offensive. Just saying my say.

  • Mouth-piece speaking for the family where the victim’s wife works sounds kinda fishy especially when indicating suicide?? He must have privileged info or triangle???

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