NTSB Identification: ANC16LA011
On December 29, 2015, about 0618 Alaska standard time, a Cessna 172 airplane, N914CP, was destroyed after impacting the side of an office building in Anchorage, Alaska. The private pilot sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. Dark night, visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from Merrill Field, Anchorage, about 0600.
Witnesses reported seeing the airplane flying in an easterly direction and very low over the city of Anchorage, just before striking the northwest corner of the office building. The airplane's right wing struck the building between the fourth and fifth floors, which severed the entire wing at the fuselage attachment points. The airplane's wreckage continued traveling east while descending into an adjacent office building. It subsequently struck an electrical transformer, and a postcrash fire incinerated the airplane wreckage.
The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute performed toxicology examinations for the pilot on February 9, 2016, which detected the presence of the drug Zolpidem in the liver and kidney. According to the US National Library of Medicine, Zolpidem is a prescription medication used to treat insomnia and belongs to a class of medications called sedative-hypnotics that work by slowing activity in the brain to allow sleep.
A postmortem examination conducted by the Alaska State Medical Examiner's Office on December 30, 2015, determined the cause of death to multiple blunt force injuries.
The closest weather reporting facility is Merrill Field Airport, Anchorage, about 2 miles east of the accident site. At 0553, an aviation routine weather report (METAR) from the Merrill Field Airport was reporting in part: Wind from 170 degrees at 8 knots, gusting to 18 knots; sky condition few clouds at 7,000 feet; visibility 10 statute miles; temperature 48 degrees F, dew point 26 degrees F; altimeter 29.57 inHg.
According to CAP management personnel the flight had not been authorized. The Anchorage office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has assumed jurisdiction and control of the investigation.