NTSB releases preliminary report in downtown crash

The National Transportation Safety Board says wreckage from a small airplane that struck a downtown Anchorage building last month was incinerated in the post-crash fire.

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The NTSB released the preliminary report Wednesday into the Dec. 29 crash that killed the pilot, Doug Demarest. A family spokeswoman said his death was a suicide.

The plane struck the building that houses the law firm in which Demarest’s wife is a partner. The impact severed the plane’s right wing, which continued into an adjacent building. There were no other injuries.

The NTSB report drew no conclusions about the cause of the crash.

Witnesses saw the Cessna 172 flying low over Anchorage before striking the building. Demarest had taken the Civil Air Patrol search-and-rescue plane without authorization from a nearby airport.

Anchorage FBI spokeswoman Staci Feger-Pellessier says the agency is awaiting autopsy reports to conclude its investigation.