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North Dakota state senator Doug Larsen was piloting the single-engine plane that crashed Sunday evening and killed him, his wife, and his two sons.
Authorities in Moab, Utah said Larsen, 47, was in the cockpit when the plane crashed just outside of Canyonlands Regional Airport, instantly killing the family of four.
The Grand County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the Republican politician’s role Monday in the crash that happened right after takeoff from the Canyonlands Regional Airport.
It is believed the four were returning from a visit with family in Scottsdale, Arizona when and were stopping at the Moab, Utah airport to refuel for their flight home.
First responders were sent to the scene just before 8.30pm, according to the local sheriff’s office, and found that all four passengers on the plane had died.
The cause of the crash is unknown as officials investigate further.
North Dakota state senator Doug Larsen (pictured) was piloting the single-engine plane that crashed Sunday evening and killed him, his wife, and his two sons
Larsen, 47, was in the cockpit when the plane crashed just outside of Canyonlands Regional Airport, instantly killing the family of four (pictured)
A plane pictured on Doug Larsen’s Facebook page. It’s unclear if this is the plane that crashed
Public records show Larsen was registered in June to fly a Piper Cherokee PA-28-140, a single-engine plane. It’s unclear if this is the plane that crashed.
The news of the deaths first circulated early Monday when Republican state senator David Hogue wrote an email to their colleagues.
‘Senator Doug Larsen, his wife Amy, and their two young children died in a plane crash last evening in Utah,’ wrote Hogue.
‘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,’ he wrote in the email.
‘Hold your family close today,’ the Republican continued.
Larsen had a third stepchild who was not on the plane Sunday.
The Republican was first elected to the North Dakota Senate in 2020.
Prior to that, Larsen served nearly three decades with the North Dakota Army National Guard, according to a statement from Governor Doug Burgum.
His district comprises Mandan, a city that flanks Bismarck across the Mississippi River. He chaired a panel in the State Senate that handled industry and business legislation.
In addition to his political position, Larsen and his wife were majority owners of a local hotel. He was also a lieutenant colonel in the North Dakota National Guard.
Doug and Amy Larsen and their two young children in a social media photo
The Canyonlands Regional Airport, outside of Moab, Utah, where the crash happened
Also killed were the couple’s two young children. The family was reportedly returning to North Dakota from a family visit in Arizona
Deputies with the Grand County Sheriff’s Office said they received a report that the aircraft went down around 8.30pm on Sunday.
An Air Medical helicopter located the downed plane while crews from the sheriff’s office, the Moab Fire Department and EMTs responded to the crash site.
In a brief statement released just after midnight Monday, the Sheriff’s Office said: ‘Rescue efforts were completed. Four occupants unfortunately did not survive the crash. Further information will be provided as soon as family members have been notified.’
Initially, the office said it dispatched emergency responders after receiving a call for a witness who saw ‘a plane going into the ground shortly after taking off from the Canyonlands Airfield north of Moab.’
The National Transportation Safety Board said in a post on X (formerly Twitter) that the crash of the single-engine Piper was being investigated.
The family was flying out of Canyonlands Regional Airport
State Senator Doug Larsen and his wife Amy were two of the people killed Sunday when their small plane went down in Utah
The plane crashed about 15 miles outside of Moab, Utah – a tourist city of about 5,300 people located near Arches and Canyonlands national parks.
In his statement, Burgum commended Larsen for his years of service and offered his condolences to their family members.
‘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,’ said Burgum.
‘As a legislator, he was a tenacious advocate for individual rights and the freedoms he defended through his military service,’ he said.