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November 11, 2013

Jim Inhofe’s son killed in weekend plane crash

OKLAHOMA CITY — The U.S. Secretary of Defense on Monday confirmed the death of U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe’s son, 52-year-old Dr. Perry Inhofe, who was killed in a weekend plane crash in northeast Oklahoma.

Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel “was informed of Sen. Inhofe’s son’s death.”

Perry Inhofe, an orthopedic surgeon, died when the small plane he was flying crashed Sunday crash near Owasso, a Tulsa suburb.

Perry Inhofe, who worked at Central States Orthopedics in Tulsa, was one of four children of Oklahoma’s senior U.S. senator. He earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University in 1984 and graduated from medical school at Washington University in St. Louis, according to the clinic’s website. Telephone messages left Monday at Inhofe’s clinic weren’t immediately returned.

The married father lived in Tulsa.

The multi-engine plane was headed to Tulsa International Airport when it crashed shortly before 4 p.m. on Sunday about 5 miles north of the airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The plane had taken off from Salina, Kan.

Jake Bray said he saw the crash from about 400 yards away, saying one propeller appeared to be out before “it started spiraling out of control and it hit the ground.”

Jim Inhofe, 79, has been a pilot for more than 50 years and owns several planes. In an interview earlier this year with General Aviation News, the senator said he taught his son, Perry, to fly in the family’s 1954 Grumman Tiger and that the tradition was passed on to Perry Inhofe’s 16-year-old son, Cole, who made his first landing in September at an air show in Wisconsin.

A tail number provided by the National Transportation and Safety Board shows that the plane Perry Inhofe was flying Sunday was a 1974 Mitsubishi MU-2B-25. The same model has come under increased scrutiny in recent years from the FAA after statistics showed a rising rate of accidents involving the plane.

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