A man who crashed plane in the heart of downtown Anchorage in Alaska, clipping one building and smashing into another committed suicide, according to a spokeswoman for his family. Doug Demarest clipped an office block of the law firm where his wife worked and then dived into an unoccupied commercial building in the city on Tuesday, 29 December.

Jahna Lindemuth said: "There's no reason to think that Doug Demarest was trying to harm anyone but himself." Lindemuth is a managing partner at the law firm Dorsey & Whitney where Demarest's wife Katherine works as a partner specialising in Alaskan native rights. She declined to say how the family knew it was a suicide and asked that the family's privacy be respected.

On witnessing the crash, Carolyn Hall photojournalist for Alaska news channel KTVA, tweeted: "still another half hour+ before sunrise in Anchorage, first light shows more of fatal downtown plane crash"

The plane belonged to the Civil Air Patrol, a civilian auxiliary of the US Air Force made up of volunteers who conduct search and rescue, disaster relief and homeland security across the country. Demarest joined the patrol in 2010. Demarest died at the scene and no one else was hurt. The crash occurred in the morning.

Authorities confirmed that Demarest was not authorised to fly the aircraft.It was kept in in a Civil Air Patrol hangar at Anchorage's Merrill Field. Civil Air Patrol officials were alerted on the morning of the crash that maintenance crews conducting a routine perimeter check had found the hangar door open according to reports.

The FBI released a statement that said that it could not confirm or deny reports surrounding the case other than to "reiterate there is no indication this was a terrorist act".