North Dakota state senator and his family die in plane crash

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A state senator from North Dakota, his wife and their two youngest children, have died in a small plane crash in Utah, officials said on Monday.

The plane carrying Doug Larsen and his family crashed shortly after taking off near Moab, Utah, where the aircraft had stopped to refuel on Sunday evening.

The pilot of the plane also died in the crash, police said.

The Larsens were visiting family in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The Grand County Sheriff’s Office posted a statement on Facebook saying they were notified about a “plane going into the ground” shortly after taking off from Canyonlands Airfield about 15 miles (24km) north of Moab at approximately 20:30 local time (02:30 GMT). Sheriff’s deputies, the Moab County Fire Department and paramedics responded to the scene.

Mr Larsen’s death was first confirmed by North Dakota’s Senate Majority Leader David Hogue in an email to his colleagues, according to the Associated Press.

“I’m not sure where the bereavement starts with such a tragedy, but I think it starts with prayers for the grandparents, surviving stepchild of Senator Larsen, and extended family of Doug and Amy,” Mr Hogue said. “Hold your family close today.”

The aircraft was located in a remote area bordering the airport, according to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office.

The media account for the National Transportation Safety Board said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that they are “investigating the October 1 crash of Piper PA-28-140 airplane near Moab, Utah”.

Canyonlands Airport remains operational while the investigation takes place.

Mr Larsen was elected to the North Dakota Senate in 2020. His Facebook page says he is a “Conservative, Republican outsider working for the Constituents of District 34”.

He chaired a Senate panel on industry and business legislation and also served in the North Dakota National Guard.

Source: BBC