North Dakota state senator, wife, 2 children killed when plane crashes in Utah

MOAB, Utah — North Dakota state senator Doug Larsen, his wife and two of their children were killed Sunday night shortly after their small plane crashed after takeoff at a Utah airport, authorities said.

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Larsen, of Mandan, a Republican representing District 34, his wife Amy and their two youngest children died after their plane crashed after taking off from the Canyonlands Regional Airport north of Moab, KSL-TV reported.

The plane, a 1966 Piper PA28, was registered to Larsen, according to KFYR-TV.

The Grand County Sheriff’s Office received reports of a crash at 8:26 p.m. MDT, according to the television station.

A medical air helicopter located the downed aircraft while crews from the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, Moab Fire Department and emergency medical technicians responded to the scene, KSL reported.

“Senator Doug Larsen, his wife Amy, and their two young children died in a plane crash last evening in Utah,” Republican Senate Majority Leader David Hogue wrote in an email to senators that was obtained by The Associated Press. “They were visiting family in Scottsdale and returning home. They stopped to refuel in Utah.”

Larsen, a Republican, joined the North Dakota Senate in 2021, according to his biography on the state’s legislative website. A statement from North Dakota officials said Larsen was a 29-year member of the North Dakota Army National Guard who had earned several awards, including the Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Service Star and Army Aviator Badge, KSL reported.

“Sen. 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,” North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said in a statement. “As a legislator, he was a tenacious advocate for individual rights and the freedoms he defended through his military service.”

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