North Dakota state senator Doug Larsen, his wife and their two young children were killed when the small plane they were riding crashed in Utah. Republican Senate Majority Leader David Hogue confirmed the fatalities on Monday in an email sent to his fellow senators which was obtained by The Associated Press. Hogue wrote in his email: “Senator Doug Larsen, his wife Amy, and their two young children died in a plane crash last evening in Utah. They were visiting family in Scottsdale and returning home. They stopped to refuel in Utah.”
According to a Grand County Sheriff’s Department statement posted on Facebook, Larsen was the pilot of the plane that crashed Sunday evening, shortly after taking off from Canyonlands Airfield, located about 15 miles north of Moab. The sheriff’s office said all four people on board the plane were killed, and said in a statement later Monday that the county’s “dispatch center received a report of an isolated incident involving a single aircraft taking off from the Canyonlands Regional Airport and then crashing into the ground.”
The National Transportation Safety Board said in a post on social media that the crash of the single-engine Piper plane was being investigated. Sheriff’s deputies, Moab County Fire Department personnel and paramedics responded to the crash after a medical aircraft spotted the downed plane, the sheriff’s office said.
An NTSB spokesman earlier said a board investigator was expected to arrive at the scene Monday “to begin to document the scene, examine the aircraft, request any air traffic communications, radar data, weather reports and try to contact any witnesses. Also, the investigator will request maintenance records of the aircraft, and medical records and flight history of the pilot.”
Larsen was a Republican first elected to the North Dakota Senate in 2020. His district comprises Mandan, the city neighboring Bismarck to the west across the Missouri River. Larsen chaired a Senate panel that handled industry and business legislation. He was also a lieutenant colonel in the North Dakota National Guard, and he and his wife, Amy, were business owners. District Republicans will appoint a successor to fill out the remainder of Larsen’s term, through November 2024. His Senate seat is on the ballot next year. Republicans control North Dakota’s Legislature with supermajorities in the House and Senate.
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