North Dakota Senator Killed Alongside Family in Plane Crash

( – A Republican state senator has died in a private plane crash in Utah. The North Dakota lawmaker was returning from a visit to Arizona when his light aircraft came down shortly after a refueling stop. All four people on board were killed in the incident.

On October 1, North Dakota Senator Doug Larsen (R-District 34), who had been visiting relatives in Scottsdale, Arizona with his wife Amy and their two youngest children, was flying home in his single-engine Piper light aircraft. On the way, he landed at Canyonlands Regional Airfield, around 15 miles from Moab, Utah, to refuel. Shortly after taking off again, the Piper crashed; Larsen, his wife, and the two children all died.

The news was announced in an email sent by the North Dakota Senate’s GOP majority leader, David Hogue. The Grand County Sheriff’s Department said Larsen was flying the plane himself. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) confirmed on October 2 that it’s investigating the crash, but the airport remains open. A spokesman for the agency later said they plan to contact witnesses, review radar and radio data, and check the aircraft’s maintenance records and Larsen’s fight history.

Larsen was a first-term state senator who took office in December 2020. Born in 1976, he gained a real estate agent’s license; he also owned a building company and a hotel franchise. On top of his business activities, Larsen also served his country; he spent 29 years in the North Dakota Army National Guard, including an operational tour in Iraq and a 2013 activation to Washington, DC. In 2016 he took command of the 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment, a support helicopter unit headquartered at the Bismarck Municipal Airport. His final rank was Lieutenant Colonel.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum (R) called Larsen “a tenacious advocate for individual rights and the freedoms he defended through his military service.” Major General Alan Dorhman, North Dakota Army National Guard, said he was “a true patriot who dedicated his life… to serving others.”

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