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GOP Senator, Wife, Children All Killed In Plane Crash

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


A Republican state senator from North Dakota was killed in a plane crash along with his wife and two children, according to reports on Monday.

The Associated Press reported that the small plane Sen. Doug Larson and his family were flying crashed shortly after takeoff following a refueling stop in Utah. His death was confirmed by Republican Senate Majority Leader David Hogue in an email he sent to his fellow senators that the AP obtained.

The AP added: “The plane crashed Sunday evening shortly after taking off from Canyonlands Airfield about 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of the desert recreation town of Moab, according to a Grand County Sheriff’s Department statement posted on Facebook. 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,” 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.”

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The AP added that a bouquet of roses was placed over his desk in the Senate chamber that read, “D. Larsen – District 34.”

“The crash of the single-engine Piper plane was being investigated, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a post on X, the social media website formerly called Twitter,” the AP said.

A spokesman for the NTSB told the AP that the agency was sending an investigator “to begin to document the scene, examine the aircraft, request any air traffic communications, radar data, weather reports and try to contact any witnesses.

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“Also, the investigator will request maintenance records of the aircraft, and medical records and flight history of the pilot,” the spokesperson said.

Officials did not disclose the aircraft’s departure point or ultimate destination. Upon arrival at the airport, the passengers traveled into Moab by car before departing again in the refueled plane, according to NTSB spokesman Fabian Salazar during a press conference held at the airport.

Salazar said the agency is expected to have a preliminary report wrapped up within a couple of weeks, most likely, with a full report to follow one to one and a half years later.

“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 and his wife, Amy, were business owners,” the AP reported.

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“Larsen served 29 years in the North Dakota Army National Guard. 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,” the AP said.

Burgum, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination, said in a statement that Larsen “was 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. As a legislator, he was a tenacious advocate for individual rights and the freedoms he defended through his military service.”

Maj. Gen. Alan Dohrmann, the North Dakota adjutant general, added: “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. 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.”

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