A plane crash in Utah Sunday evening left four people dead, including a state senator from North Dakota, his wife and their two young children, a state official said Monday.
The Grand County Sheriff’s Department said the single-engine Piper plane carrying state Senator Doug Larsen, 47, and his family crashed Sunday evening about 15 miles north of the town of Moab, shortly after it refueled at the Canyonlands Airfield. The sheriff’s office said the senator was the pilot and all four people on board the plane were killed.
“Senator Doug Larsen, his wife Amy, and their two young children died in a plane crash last evening in Utah,” Republican Senate Majority Leader David Hogue wrote in an email to his fellow senators, obtained by The Associated Press. “They were visiting family in Scottsdale and returning home. They stopped to refuel in Utah.”
Hogue added: “I’m not sure where the bereavement starts with such a tragedy, but I think it starts with prayers for the grandparents, surviving stepchild of Senator Larsen, and extended family of Doug and Amy. Hold your family close today.”
NORTH DAKOTA INITIATIVE WOULD REQUIRE LAWMAKERS TO BE OUT OF OFFICE BEFORE TURNING 81
On Monday, a bouquet of roses was seen draped over the Republican lawmaker’s desk inside the Senate chamber, just above his nameplate that reads: “D. Larsen – District 34.”
The plane crash remains under investigation.
An NTSB spokesman said a board investigator traveled to 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.”
Officials didn’t release the plane’s origin or final destination.
NTSB spokesman Fabian Salazar said at a news conference that Larsen landed at the airport and the travelers took a car into Moab before taking off in the refueled plane.
A preliminary report on the crash is expected to be released within a couple weeks, followed by a final report in a year to year and a half, Salazar said.
A statement on his Facebook account read: “It is with great sadness that our community shares in the passing of Sen Doug Larsen, his wife Amy and their two boys, in a tragic plane crash. North Dakota has lost a true public servant, National Guard leader, Iraq war veteran, and member of our community.”
NORTH DAKOTA EDUCATION OFFICIALS WORRIED ABOUT LOSING REVENUE DUE TO IMPLICATIONS OF NEW MN FREE TUITION PLAN
The post included a photo of the young couple and their two sons.
“Doug and Amy were gracious, honorable, tremendous partners and admirable business leaders. Their lives, and their precious children’s lives, were sadly cut short. Please keep their family close in your hearts, and often in your prayers, as they endure these challenging times,” the post continued.
Larsen was 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.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, also a Republican, honored Larsen in a statement as “a father, husband, coach, entrepreneur, businessman, state senator and lieutenant colonel in the North Dakota National Guard who committed himself fully to each of those roles with an unwavering sense of honor and duty.”
“First Lady Kathryn, Lt. Gov. Miller and I are deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss of Sen. Doug Larsen, his wife, Amy, and their two young sons. As a legislator, he was a tenacious advocate for individual rights and the freedoms he defended through his military service,” the governor said.
And, “We extend our deepest sympathies and prayers to his family and friends and join his legislative colleagues, National Guard brothers and sisters and the Mandan community in mourning the tragic passing of Sen. Larsen and his family.”
Larsen served 29 years in the North Dakota Army National Guard, first enlisting on March 14, 1994, as a combat engineer. He mobilized twice, to Iraq from 2009-10 and to Washington, D.C., from 2013-14, according to Gov. Doug Burgum’s office. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Service Star and Army Aviator Badge, among other honors.
Maj. Gen. Alan Dohrmann, who is adjutant general of the North Dakota National Guard, added: “Doug was a true patriot who dedicated his life, both in and out of uniform, to serving others. I had the distinct pleasure to call him a Brother in Arms.”
He also said: “I cannot think of a more tragic loss for one family, and the North Dakota National Guard sends our condolences to all of (the Larsens’) friends and family.”
Republican state Sen. Scott Meyer, who sat behind Larsen in the Senate, remembered him as a cordial lawmaker with a passion for flying.
Meyer said on Saturday afternoon, Larsen talked in the Senate chamber with fellow senators for roughly an hour about flying planes and working on his private pilot’s license.
“He was passionate about flying. He really was,” Meyer continued.
He and his wife, Amy, were also 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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News