Few details on Anchorage plane crash as FBI investigates

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Authorities are declining to comment on any possible connection between a deadly plane crash in downtown Anchorage and the fact that the pilot's wife worked in one of the two buildings the small plane hit.

See Full Article

The FBI and other agencies were still investigating the Tuesday morning wreck that killed 42-year-old pilot Doug Demarest, spokeswoman Staci Feger-Pellessier said Wednesday.

Demarest was flying a Cessna 172 owned by the Civil Air Patrol when he clipped the building that houses law firm Dorsey & Whitney and then crashed into an unoccupied commercial building. He died at the scene, and no one else was hurt.

Demarest joined the Civil Air Patrol five years ago, but the civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force called the flight unauthorized. The Civil Air Patrol is made up of volunteers who help with search and rescue, disaster relief and homeland security across the country, according to a statement from the national group.

Authorities, including the FBI, declined to say whether there was any link between the crash and Dorsey & Whitney, which employs Demarest's wife, Katherine Demarest. She could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

FBI policy prevents the agency 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," Feger-Pellessier said in a statement.

She said the agency, which is leading the investigation, does not anticipate providing any updates for at least two weeks.

There also was little new information about Doug Demarest's use of the airplane, which was housed at a Civil Air Patrol hangar at Anchorage's Merrill Field.

The National Civil Air Patrol earlier noted the flight was unauthorized. Spokeswoman Julie DeBardelaben on Wednesday declined to say what exactly made it a breach of the organization's policy.

Local Civil Air Patrol officials were alerted Tuesday morning after maintenance crews making a routine perimeter check found the hangar door open, airfield manager Paul Bowers said. The workers did not note whether the plane was missing, he said.

The two buildings struck sustained only cosmetic damage, according to the FBI.

The building that houses the Dorsey & Whitney reopened around noon Tuesday, said Linda Boggs, spokeswoman for both structures' owner. She said the second building remained closed Wednesday because repairs must be made to a damaged transformer that caused a power outage there.

The law firm offices, however, will stay shut until Monday, according to Bryn Vaaler, an attorney and chief marketing officer based at the firm's Minneapolis headquarters. Vaaler has said no one was in the firm's sixth-floor offices at the time of the crash. He had no information about the couple's marital status.

On Wednesday, Doug Demarest's former stepfather Charlie Ballentine remembered him as someone who enjoyed spending time in the wilderness. For a while, Demarest worked as a park ranger in Alaska.

Ballentine said he had a falling out with Demarest in 2008 after alimony payments to Demarest's mother were reduced because of financial reasons. But he said he kept track of his former stepson secondhand, hearing "very nice things" about the way he treated his son.

He said the last time he talked to Demarest, his former stepson mentioned he wanted to get his pilot's license. "And unfortunately, apparently he did," Ballentine said, his voice breaking periodically.

Asked about his thoughts about the plane striking the building where Demarest's wife worked, Ballentine said, "He was always a very levelheaded guy."

Demarest was a seasonal park ranger at the Western Arctic Parklands, a trio of Alaska national parks, each summer between 2008 and 2010, according to Park Service spokesman John Quinley.

Earlier, he worked as a National Outdoor Leadership School instructor, teaching sea kayaking and other courses in Mexico, Canada and elsewhere in 2001 and 2002.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Human rights group calls on Indonesian forces to stop virginity tests

    World News CTV News
    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Indonesia's military and police continue to perform abusive virginity tests on female recruits three years after the World Health Organization declared they had no scientific validity, an international human rights group said Wednesday. Source
  • 3-year-old killed, 3 others injured in Conn. crash after pursuit

    World News CTV News
    WATERBURY, Conn. - Authorities say a teenage driver fleeing police in Connecticut has crashed his car at an intersection, killing a 3-year-old and injuring three other people on the sidewalk. State police say Waterbury officers in an unmarked car tried to stop the unidentified 18-year-old Tuesday afternoon. Source
  • Australia loses 9th legislator in citizenship crisis

    World News CTV News
    CANBERRA, Australia - An Australian senator who is British by descent has become the ninth lawmaker to leave Parliament over a 116-year-old constitutional ban on dual nationals running for office that threatens to bring down the government. Source
  • Full interview: Zimbabwe opposition leader pushes for democracy

    World News CTV News
    Despite being arrested and beaten for challenging ousted Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, the country’s opposition leader wishes to see a peaceful transition of power. In an interview with CTV National News Chief Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme, Morgan Tsvangirai said the top priority in Zimbabwe is installing a democratic election process that is fair, credible and “irreversible. Source
  • White House personnel investigated for improper foreign contact during Trump's Asia trip

    World News CBC News
    Three U.S. military personnel allegedly had improper contact with foreign women while traveling with U.S. President Donald Trump on his trip this month to Asia, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. The three Army non-commissioned officers, who worked for the White House Communications Agency, have been reassigned from their White House jobs, according to the Post, which cited officials familiar with the situation. Source
  • Dramatic video shows escape, shooting of North Korean defector

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of -- A North Korean soldier made a desperate dash to freedom in a jeep and then on foot, being shot at least five times as he limped across the border and was rescued by South Korean soldiers, according to dramatic video released by the U.S. Source
  • Inmate dies after meth-laden kiss of death; girlfriend gets 2 years

    World News CTV News
    PORTLAND, Ore. -- An Oregon woman whose inmate boyfriend died from a meth-laden kiss after a prison visit was sentenced to two years behind bars Tuesday on a drug conspiracy charge. Melissa Ann Blair and Anthony Powell shared a long kiss at the end of a visit last year at the Oregon State Penitentiary and she passed seven tiny balloons filled with methamphetamine into his mouth. Source
  • Creative, humane solutions needed in Nova Scotia feral cat crisis

    Canada News CTV News
    Nova Scotia faces an uphill battle when it comes to the area’s feral cat problem, but experts are working to find creative and humane solutions to the issue. While the total numbers are unknown, Halifax city staff estimate there could be as many as 90,000 feral cats in the Halifax Regional Municipality alone. Source
  • 'Mladic must answer for these crimes': Former Bosnian Serb general awaits war crimes verdict

    World News CBC News
    Enes Paratusic, who was tortured, beaten, and nearly starved to death years ago during the Bosnian war, says true justice for Ratko Mladic would be forcing him to live near the graves of his victims. "They should build a house there for him and let him live with those people. Source
  • Under new mayor, Montreal moves to repeal pit bull-type ban

    Canada News CTV News
    Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante's new administration isn't wasting any time moving ahead with its election promise to repeal the city's controversial ban on pit bull-type dogs. City councillor Craig Sauve says there are plans to consult with scientists, veterinarians, the SPCA and dog owners about a new bylaw. Source