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January 1, State Senator and Family Perish in Plane Crash

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State Senator Doug Larsen, alongside his wife and two children, tragically died in a plane crash shortly after refueling in Utah. This devastating news was shared in an email by Republican Senate Majority Leader David Hogue, as reported by The Associated Press.

Upon taking off from Canyonlands Airfield, just 15 miles north of Moab, the plane crashed. The Grand County Sheriff’s Department announced via Facebook that Senator Larsen was the pilot and there were no survivors from the tragic event.

Hogue shared, “Senator Doug Larsen, his wife Amy, and their two young children died in a plane crash last evening in Utah. They were visiting family in Scottsdale and returning home. They stopped to refuel in Utah.”

In a touching gesture, a bouquet of roses was placed on Larsen’s desk in the Senate chamber.

As investigations into the single-engine Piper plane crash continue, the National Transportation Safety Board stated their intention to “document the scene, examine the aircraft, request any air traffic communications, radar data, weather reports and try to contact any witnesses. Also, the investigator will request maintenance records of the aircraft, and medical records and flight history of the pilot.”

Fabian Salazar, an NTSB spokesman, provided further information during a press conference, noting that after the plane had landed at the airport, the travelers ventured into Moab in a car before taking off again.

Elected to the North Dakota Senate in 2020, Larsen was a dedicated Republican representing Mandan. Apart from his political pursuits, Larsen, together with his wife, Amy, were entrepreneurs.

Additionally, Larsen had a commendable military background, serving 29 years in the North Dakota Army National Guard. His deployments included stints in Iraq and Washington, D.C., earning him several honors such as the Meritorious Service Medal and Army Aviator Badge.

In a heartfelt tribute, Gov. Doug Burgum described Larsen as someone who “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.”

Adding to the tributes, Maj. Gen. Alan Dohrmann expressed, “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.”

Fellow Republican state Sen. Scott Meyer remembered Larsen fondly for his passion for flying, humor, and candor, sharing that Larsen was always “passionate about flying. He really was.”

To fill the void left by this tragedy, District Republicans will appoint a successor to complete Larsen’s term. His Senate seat will also be on the ballot next year.

Meanwhile, the small community of Moab mourns the tragic event in their tourism-centric town near Arches and Canyonlands national parks.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Don

    December 30, 2023 at 8:38 am

    How sad. I’ll pray for their souls.

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