State Sen. Doug Larsen, a Republican from Mandan, N.D., died Sunday in a plane crash along with his wife and two children. Photo courtesy of State Sen. Doug Larsen/Facebook
Oct. 2 (UPI) -- A North Dakota state legislator and his family were killed over the weekend in a small plane crash in Utah, the state's Republican Party leadership announced Monday.
State Sen. Doug Larsen, a Republican from Mandan, N.D., died along with his wife, Amy, and two young children in the crash of a single-engine plane near Moab, Utah, on Sunday, according to Senate majority leader David Hogue, who made the announcement in an email to colleagues obtained by the Grand Forks, N.D., Herald.
Hogue said Larsen and his family died when a plane they were aboard came down shortly after taking off from the Canyonlands Field Airport near Moab, where they had stopped to refuel after visiting family in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Sheriff's officials in Grand County, Utah, reported a plane crashed at 8:30 p.m. Sunday north of Moab and that none of its four occupants had survived. The victims were not named in the sheriff's report.
The majority leader said a stepchild of Larson's who was not on the plane survives them.
"I am incredibly saddened by the unexpected passing of state Sen. Doug Larsen," a fellow state lawmaker, Rep. Matt Heilman of Bismarck, N.D., wrote in a Facebook post. "Sen. Larsen was the first legislator I talked to about running for office in 2021. He had a stellar voting record, supported my campaign, and was a great man to say the least."
The Herald reported Larsen owned a home building and development company in Mandan, as well as a hotel franchise in Bismarck, and was a licensed real estate agent.
He was also a 29-year member of the North Dakota Army National Guard. He served in the state's Senate representing District 34 since 2021.
"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 memorializing the state senator.
"I cannot think of a more tragic loss for one family, and the North Dakota National Guard sends our condolences to all of their friends and family. Doug as 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."
Federal Aviation Administration records show him as the owner of a single-engine Piper aircraft.
The federal agency, which said it was investigating the crash, identified the involved aircraft in a statement as a Piper PA-28-140.