Investigation underway into plane crash that kills North Dakota State Senator, family members

Sen. Doug Larsen | Photo provided by the North Dakota Legislative Assembly
Sen. Doug Larsen | Photo provided by the North Dakota Legislative Assembly

(Fargo, ND) — The investigation into a fatal plane crash involving a sitting North Dakota state senator is underway.

Sheriff Jamison Wiggins, of Grant County, Utah, said Monday afternoon that the investigation into the death of Sen. Doug Larsen; his wife, Amy; and two young sons, is being conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Wiggins said the crash is especially difficult given the loss of two young lives.

“It’s very tragic, he said. “It’s sad for the Larsen family and first responders. It was a very tough scene. The loss of life, especially with children, is the hardest part.”

Fabian Salazar, an Air Safety Investigator with the NTSB, says the on-scene investigation has begun. He says the aircraft, a Piper Cherokee PA28-140 single engine land airplane impacted terrain under nighttime conditions Sunday. Investigators are conducting interviews, and are expected to be actively investigating near the scene through the day today and on TTuesday as well.

A preliminary report, according to Salazar, is anticipated within 14 days of the completion of the investigation, with a final report with probable cause expected in 12 to 18 months.

Investigators are gathering information on the plane’s flight plan, and whether there were any recording devises onboard or distress signals sent from the aircraft.

“We have information that tells us the occupants landed at Canyonland, went into town, took on fuel and departed,” Salazar said.

Wiggins said his department has “continued to stay in contact with the family to this very second.”

Lieutenant Al Cymbaluk, the Public Information Officer and Investigator Lieutenant for the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, says the National Guard is providing a victim advocate for the family.

No further information is available as the investigation is ongoing.