ACCIDENTS & INJURIES

No evidence of mechanical failure in plane crash that killed North Dakota lawmaker, report says

Nov 2, 2023, 2:30 PM | Updated: 2:33 pm

white plane in pieces on dry brown terrain...

The wreckage of a plane crash that killed a North Dakota family as seen from the air in KSL TV's Chopper 5. (Chopper 5)

(Chopper 5)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Federal investigators say they found no evidence of a mechanical failure before a North Dakota state senator’s plane crashed in Utah last month, killing him, his wife and their two young children, according to a preliminary report released Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Doug and Amy Larsen and their two sons, 11-year-old Christian and 8-year-old Everett, died Oct. 1 in the crash near Moab, Utah. The family’s single-engine aircraft went down shortly after they stopped to refuel while returning home from a family gathering in Arizona.

The plane was piloted by Doug Larsen, 47, who flew Black Hawk helicopters and mobilized twice during his 29 years with the North Dakota Army National Guard.

Security video at the airport showed Larson buying 27 gallons (102 liters) of fuel at a self-serve island at the airport shortly after landing around 5:45 p.m. before borrowing a car to drive into town, the NTSB said.

North Dakota state senator, wife and 2 kids killed after small plane crashes north of Moab airport

The group returned to the airport shortly after 8 p.m. and got back into the plane. The video showed the plane’s lights illuminate before it rolled down the runway and took off at 8:23 p.m. The report noted that the runway lights, which are controlled by the pilot, remained dark during takeoff.

The plane climbed to about 200 feet (61 meters) and turned around after takeoff, but started to descend shortly thereafter and crashed within minutes. A witness reported hearing two distinct impacts when the plane crashed. Investigators found that the plane gouged a hilltop before crashing about 455 feet (139 8 meters) away.

The NTSB said its examination of the wreckage “revealed no mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operations.”

Larsen had recently earned his commercial pilot’s license and had hopes of one day flying for a major airline, state Sen. Jim Roers said.

He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Service Star and Army Aviator Badge, among other honors. He had logged about 1,800 total military flight hours, according to National Guard spokesperson Nathan Rivard.

Funeral pays tribute to North Dakota lawmaker and family lost in Utah plane crash

Larsen was posthumously promoted from lieutenant colonel to colonel, having met the criteria for promotion, Rivard said.

Dozens of state lawmakers attended the funerals that were held Oct. 10 for the Larsens. They were laid to rest in the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery.

Larsen, a Republican, was elected to the North Dakota Senate in 2020. In the 2023 session, he chaired a Senate panel that handled industry- and business-related legislation.

District Republicans recently appointed a successor for his seat representing Mandan, the city neighboring Bismarck to the west across the Missouri River. Justin Gerhardt, a project manager with a construction company who served nine years with the North Dakota Army National Guard, will serve the remainder of Larsen’s term through November 2024. The seat is on the ballot next year for a full, four-year term.

___

Associated Press writer Josh Funk contributed to this report from Omaha, Nebraska.

KSL 5 TV Live

Accidents & Injuries

Richfield City police say the male driver of a utility task vehicle was involved in a crash with a...

Simone Seikaly

Crash kills utility task vehicle driver in Richfield

Richfield City police say the male driver of a utility task vehicle was involved in a crash with a car at 1100 South Main Street on Monday afternoon around 4 p.m.

3 hours ago

blue and red lights mixing from a police car...

Larry D. Curtis

Man riding electric scooter killed after collision with car near Fairpark

A 41-year-old man riding an electric scooter was struck by a car Sunday and then died at a hospital.

13 hours ago

One man is dead after he was ejected from a truck on state Route 18 on Saturday evening, according ...

Mary Culbertson

Driver ejected from truck, killed in Washington County

A man driving a pickup truck in Washington County was ejected from the truck and killed on Saturday.

1 day ago

A Utah Highway Patrol emblem is pictured as shown on the side of a UHP vehicle. (Utah Highway Patro...

Mark Jones

One person dead in southern Utah car pursuit

The Utah Highway Patrol says one person died following a crash in a police pursuit Saturday in southern Utah.

2 days ago

Lowell Ward in the hospital after the accident (Courtesy: Katherine Ward)...

Brianna Chavez

Cache County family thankful for driver who helped son after he was hit by car

A Cache County family is encouraging drivers to stay cautious on the roads and learn from their experience after their 13-year-old son was hit by a car.

3 days ago

Video showing Viviana being hit by the car....

Garna Mejia

Millcreek family searches for person who hit them on crosswalk and drove away

Unified Police are looking for the suspect in a hit-and-run accident that left two children injured earlier this month.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

No evidence of mechanical failure in plane crash that killed North Dakota lawmaker, report says