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Utah Plane Crash Kills North Dakota State Senator Doug Larsen And Family

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A Senate leader announced Monday that a state senator from North Dakota, his wife, and their two young children perished when the small plane they were traveling in crashed shortly after making a refueling stop in Utah.

The Associated Press was able to get an email that Republican Senate Majority Leader David Hogue wrote to his colleagues senators on Monday that confirmed Doug Larsen’s passing.

According to a Grand County Sheriff’s Department statement published on Facebook, the jet crashed Sunday evening not long after taking off from Canyonlands Airfield, which is located approximately 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of the desert tourist town of Moab. According to the sheriff’s office, the senator was the plane’s pilot, and all four occupants perished.

“Senator Doug Larsen, his wife Amy, and their two young children died in a plane crash last evening in Utah,” Hogue wrote in his email. “They were visiting family in Scottsdale and returning home. They stopped to refuel in Utah.”

“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,” Hogue wrote. “Hold your family close today.”

In the Senate chamber, a bouquet of roses was placed on Larsen’s desk, directly above the nameplate that reads: “D. Larsen – District 34.”

The National Transportation Safety Board announced in a statement on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, that the single-engine Piper plane crash was under investigation.

A board investigator was anticipated to reach the area on Monday, according to an NTSB spokesperson, “to start documenting the scene, check the aircraft, obtain any air traffic communications, radar data, weather reports, and try to contact any witnesses. The investigator will also ask for the aircraft’s maintenance logs, the pilot’s medical documents, and his or her flight history.

The origin and destination of the plane were not disclosed by officials. According to NTSB spokesperson Fabian Salazar, the passengers arrived at the airport, drove into Moab, and then boarded the refueled aircraft to take off.

According to Salazar, the agency will have a preliminary report on the disaster in a few weeks and a complete study in a year to a year and a half.

In 2020, Larsen, a Republican, won his first election to the North Dakota Senate. His district includes Mandan, which is located across the Missouri River from Bismarck to the west. Larsen presided over a Senate committee that dealt with business and industry issues. He ran a business with his wife, Amy.

Larsen was a member of the North Dakota Army National Guard for 29 years. According to the office of Governor Doug Burgum, he mobilized twice, once in 2009–2010 to Iraq and once in 2013–2014 to Washington, D.C. Among other recognitions, he received the Army Aviator Badge, Bronze Service Star, and Meritorious Service Medal.

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