UPDATE: U.S. Senate candidate killed in plane crash - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: U.S. Senate candidate killed in plane crash

Posted: Updated:
Scene of the plane crash Monday night in Key West in Dubuque County. Scene of the plane crash Monday night in Key West in Dubuque County.
Doug Butzier, seen here with his plane during a campaign stop in Mason City. (Photo courtesy KIMT) Doug Butzier, seen here with his plane during a campaign stop in Mason City. (Photo courtesy KIMT)
Photo from Doug Butzier's Facebook profile, uploaded Sept. 16 Photo from Doug Butzier's Facebook profile, uploaded Sept. 16
Photo from Doug Butzier's Facebook profile, uploaded July 9 Photo from Doug Butzier's Facebook profile, uploaded July 9
DUBUQUE COUNTY (KWWL) -

A third-party candidate for U.S. Senate was killed after the plane he was piloting crashed in Dubuque County on Monday night.

Dr. Douglas Butzier of Dubuque was killed when his Piper PA-46 fixed-wing, single-engine plane crashed upon approaching the Dubuque Regional Airport in Dubuque.

Butzier's family confirmed to KWWL's Lauren DeWitt that the pilot was Butzier. No one else was on the plane.

The family released the following statement about the crash:

"Dr. Butzier's aircraft (is) here on Military Road. He was alone in the plane. Doug was an emergency room physician at Mercy Hospital. He was also running for U.S. Senate in the Libertarian party.

"Doug touched many lives and will be truly missed by all who knew him. The family requests privacy at this time."

Friends of Butzier's had good things to say about the doctor, pilot and candidate.

"He was a great guy," said family friend Tom Schreiber. "He was one of the best friends I ever had. He was just a wonderful man."

Mercy staff also made a statement noting they were "stunned and saddened" as they came to work and learned of the death of Butzier, who was president of the medical staff and a member of the Mercy Board of Trustees.

"Dr. Butzier was one of the pillars of the emergency department for the past 17 years," said Russell Knight, Mercy President and CEO, in a written statement. "His influence was felt throughout the hospital, as he led one of our key quality-improvement teams with skill, knowledge, and enthusiasm, helping to produce the outstanding results Mercy has become known for. He was a leader among his peers, and we will all miss his strong, intelligent, thoughtful presence, and we express our collective condolences to Doug's family, friends, and colleagues."

Butzier's plane was registered to Grand River Emergency Department Consultants LLC, according to the Federal Aviation Administration's registry. That business was registered to Butzier beginning in 2007, according to the Iowa Secretary of State's office.

As of late, Butzier had apparently been using the plane for candidate appearances around Iowa.

Butzier filed on Aug. 14 as the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate, according to the Iowa Secretary of State's office.

According to Butzier's website, drdougforiowa.com, he said that he was running for Senate because of his concern for the national debt and opposition to Obamacare. He also noted he had held no previous political office.

"The Libertarian Party of Iowa is deeply sadden (sic) by the passing away of Dr. Doug Butzier of Dubuque," Keith Laube, a spokesman with the Libertarian Party of Iowa, said in a written statement Tuesday afternoon. "Doug was the 2014 Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate. Our condolences to Doug's family and friends. Doug was an outstanding person with a strong passion to help others."

Condolences from other candidates came in Tuesday as well.

Joni Ernst, the Republican Party's U.S. Senate candidate, issued the following statement about the crash:

"I am deeply saddened to learn the tragic news about Dr. Doug Butzier," Ernst said in a written statement. "I appreciated Doug's willingness to contribute to this important election. In addition to representing Libertarians in this campaign, Doug served his community as an ER doctor and medical leader. Gail and I will keep Doug's family in our thoughts and prayers as they mourn their untimely loss."

Bruce Braley, the Democratic Party's U.S. Senate candidate, issued the following statement about the crash:

“I'm shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden and tragic death of Doug Butzier," Braley said. "I have enormous respect for anyone who puts their name forward as a candidate for public office. Carolyn and I send our thoughts and prayers to Dr. Butzier's wife and family during this difficult time.”

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PREVIOUS STORY:

Local law enforcement is investigating a small crash near Key West in Dubuque County where the pilot on board died. 

A single-engine Piper PA-46 crashed Monday night while approaching the Dubuque Regional Airport in Dubuque.

The flight started from Ankeny Regional Airport about an hour before the accident, according to the FAA.

The Dubuque County Sheriff's Office said the pilot and apparently sole occupant of the aircraft died in the accident.
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KWWL's Lauren Moss and Amie Steffeneicher contributed to this story

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