North Dakota Sen. Doug Larsen was piloting the single-engine plane that crashed Sunday evening, killing him, his wife and his two sons.
Authorities in Moab, Utah said Larsen, 47, was in the cockpit when the plane crashed just outside Canyonlands Regional Airport, killing the family of four instantly.
Grand County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the politician’s role on monday in the crash that occurred shortly after takeoff from the Canyonlands Regional Airport.
It is believed the four were returning from visiting family in Scottsdale, Arizona, when they stopped at the Moab, Utah airport to refuel for their flight home.
According to the local sheriff’s office, first responders were dispatched to the scene just before 8:30 p.m. and discovered that all four passengers on the plane were deceased.
The cause of the crash is unknown while officials continue to investigate.
North Dakota State Senator Doug Larsen (pictured) piloted the single-engine plane that crashed Sunday evening, killing him, his wife and his two sons
Larsen, 47, was in the cockpit when the plane crashed just outside Canyonlands Regional Airport, instantly killing the family of four (photo)
An airplane pictured on Doug Larsen’s Facebook page. It is unclear whether this is the plane that crashed
Public records show that Larsen was registered in June to fly a Piper Cherokee PA-28-140, a single-engine aircraft. It is unclear whether this is the plane that crashed.
News of the deaths first circulated on Monday Republican Senator David Hogue wrote an email to their colleagues.
“Senator Doug Larsen, his wife Amy and their two young children died last night in a plane crash in Utah,” Hogue wrote.
“I’m not sure where the loss begins in such a tragedy, but I think it begins with prayers for the grandparents, Senator Larsen’s surviving stepchild, and Doug and Amy’s extended family,” 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.
Before that, Larsen served in the North Dakota Army National Guard for nearly three decades, according to a statement from Gov. Doug Burgum.
His district includes Mandan, a city that flanks Bismarck across the Mississippi River. He chaired a Senate panel dealing with industry and business legislation.
In addition to his political position, Larsen and his wife were majority owners of a local hotel. He also served as a lieutenant colonel in the North Dakota National Guard.
Doug and Amy Larsen and their two young children in a photo on social media
Canyonlands Regional Airport, outside Moab, Utah, where the crash occurred
The couple’s two young children also died. The family reportedly returned to North Dakota after visiting family in Arizona
Grand County Sheriff’s Office deputies said they received a report that the plane crashed Sunday around 8:30 p.m.
An Air Medical helicopter located the downed aircraft while crews from the sheriff’s office, Moab Fire Department and EMTs responded to the crash site.
In a brief statement released just after midnight on Monday, the Sheriff’s Office said: “Rescue efforts have been completed. Unfortunately, four passengers did not survive the crash. Further information will follow once family members have been notified.”
Initially, the office said it dispatched emergency services after receiving a call for a witness who “saw a plane go into the ground shortly after takeoff from 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 is under investigation.
The family flew out of Canyonlands Regional Airport
State Senator Doug Larsen and his wife Amy were two of the people killed Sunday when their small plane crashed in Utah
The plane crashed about 15 miles outside Moab, Utah, a tourist town of about 5,300 residents located near Arches and Canyonlands national parks.
In his statement, Burgum praised Larsen for his years of service and expressed his condolences to their family members.
“First Lady Kathryn, Lt. Governor Miller and I are deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss of Senator Doug Larsen, his wife Amy and their two young sons,” Burgum said.
“As a lawmaker, he was a tenacious advocate for individual rights and the freedoms he defended during his military service,” he said.