A small Civil Air Patrol plane crashed downtown Anchorage in Alaska this morning, according to ABC News. Concerns of the crash being a terrorist act have immediately arisen. Especially given the fact that the plane was not sanctioned for flight, according to National Transportation Safety board, Clint Johnson.
However, local Alaskan news station, KTUU, reports the downtown plane crash was not a terrorist related incident as FBI investigators are now on the case. “We have no reason to believe that this was terrorist related,” FBI spokeswoman Staci Feger-Pellessier said.
The plane crash has claimed the life of one passenger so far this Tuesday morning. Alaska Chief for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Clint Johnson, said the plane hit the Brady Building of downtown Anchorage at 6:18 a.m this morning.
Anchorage Assistant Fire Chief, Alex Boyd, said, “No one was injured on the ground, but it’s unclear if anyone else was on the plane.” The downtown plane crash happened in an area that is densely populated during the day in Anchorage. This area is comprised of offices, hotels, and restaurants, KTUU reports.
Debris from the crash then hit a building next to it and blew a transformer nearby. But so far the collateral damage from the downtown plane crash appears to be at a minimum. Anchorage political reporter Austin Baird tweeted a picture of the damaged Brady building after being struck with the Civil Air patrol plane.
There were no reports of the two occupants in the Brady building to have been injured during the crash either. Currently, the cause of the crash is still not known. However, multiple statements so far suggest that the high winds in the area was the culprit rather than terrorist.
NTSB chief Johnson implied that high winds may have been the cause of the crash. “Obviously we have high winds in the area, but we’re also looking beyond that,” Johnson said.
CBS News reported a statement made by 747 UPS captain–Kent Haina, who is also a local Anchorage resident–saying that he was taking out his garbage when he saw the plane disappear behind a building before then hearing the plane crash downtown. Haina also said that the wind was blowing very strong during this time.
“(The engine) didn’t sound like it was in trouble, but the weather was pretty windy. I said to myself, it’s not good weather to be flying in,” he said.
The Municipal Light and Power–the power and utility company for Anchorage, Alaska–backs up Johnson’s and Haina’s claims with a tweet also warning of the high winds in the area.
National Weather Service meteorologist Rebecca Dulle also weighed in on the intensity of the wind during the flight. “Merrill Field airport, where winds were blowing at 9 mph with gusts of 21 mph just before 6 a.m…visibility was more than 10 miles.”
This strongly suggests that plane crash downtown anchorage is largely due to high winds thus leading to some sort of mechanical failure. However, it still does not answer why the plane was not sanctioned.
An NTSB spokeswoman declined to answer any further questions today as to why that may be. KTUU also reports that she is preparing a statement that will address questions about the unsanctioned flight and hopefully put any other unnerving speculations to rest.
The pilot of the downed plane still has yet to be identified, neither has the model of the aircraft.
Local authorities have already gotten to work to restore the area. KTUU reports that police have closed down areas and nearby streets by the plane crash site downtown. The Municipal Light & Power company put electrical crews to work at around 8:45 a.m. MLP tweeted that most Anchorage customers should have their power back as of right now.
Currently, it appears that the cause of the plane crash downtown was due to the high winds surrounding Anchorage more than any other factor. However, investigators are still looking into the incident.