A wave of somber gloom enveloped North Dakota following the tragic news that state Sen. Doug Larsen (R), his wife Amy and their two young children perished in a plane crash near Moab, Utah, late Sunday. Larsen, a lieutenant colonel in the North Dakota National Guard and a steadfast advocate for individual rights and freedoms in the legislative halls, was piloting the aircraft during this fatal journey, according to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office.
Embarking on what was intended to be a family visit to relatives in Scottsdale, Arizona, Larsen and his family made a pitstop in Utah to refuel the single-engine Piper plane. According to the sheriff’s statement, the aircraft encountered catastrophe shortly after taking off again, crashing 15 miles north of Moab.
North Dakota State Senator Doug Larsen was killed in plane crash along with his wife and 2 kids in Utah on Sunday.
Earlier this year, Sen. Larsen spoke out in support of a bill to study "the long-term health effects" of mRNA vaccines and shared this story on the Senate floor: pic.twitter.com/TqMEdLKlqF
— Te𝕏asLindsay™ (@TexasLindsay_) October 2, 2023
Majority leader of the North Dakota state Senate David Hogue (R) emailed the heartrending news to his fellow senators, stating, “Senator Doug Larsen, his wife Amy, and their two young children died in a plane crash last evening in Utah.” He further expressed his sympathies, urging folks to “hold your family close today” and suggesting that bereavement might commence with prayers for the surviving relatives of the Larsen family.
This accident not only extinguishes the life of a dedicated public servant but also snuffs out a patriarch who, according to Gov. Doug Burgum (R), committed himself “fully to each of those roles with an unwavering sense of honor and duty.” Larsen’s roles encompassed being a father, husband, coach, entrepreneur, and businessman, each executed with undivided allegiance and passion.
🔥🚨BREAKING NEWS: North Dakota state senator, Doug Larsen, was killed in a plane in Utah with his wife and 2 kids.
The plane crashed shortly after taking off from Canyonlands Airfield about 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of Moab, according to a Grand County Sheriff’s… pic.twitter.com/fEvFbt8xVG
— Dom Lucre | Breaker of Narratives (@dom_lucre) October 2, 2023
This loss reverberates beyond the confines of Larsen’s personal and professional circle. Maj. Gen. Alan Dohrmann, the adjutant general of the North Dakota National Guard, conveyed the magnitude of this tragedy, asserting that the Guard has been bereft of “a true patriot who dedicated his life, both in and out of uniform, to serving others.” Dohrmann regarded Larsen as more than a colleague but a “Brother in Arms.”
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have initiated an examination of the tragedy as shown on X, formerly known as Twitter: “NTSB investigating the Oct. 1 crash of Piper PA-28-140 airplane near Moab, Utah.” The forthcoming weeks promise a preliminary report, while a comprehensive analysis will surface in approximately a year to eighteen months.
As the NTSB spokespeople and other officials abstain from prematurely revealing the plane’s origin or final destination, the myriad questions orbiting this calamity linger in the agitated minds of all affected.
Larsen, the senator from Mandan and the business owner, alongside his wife, leaves behind a legacy permeated with commendable service to both his state and nation, characterized by his military mobilization to Iraq from 2009-10 and to Washington, D.C., from 2013-14, among numerous accolades and awards recognizing his service.
At the Senate, a poignant reminder of the senator’s premature departure from this world is visualized by a bouquet of roses gently draped over his desk. The nameplate reading: “D. Larsen – District 34” poignantly underscores the void his passing has created, both in the legislative arena and the hearts of those who knew him.