Oklahoma City - The son of US Senator Jim Inhofe, aged 52-years-old, Dr Perry Inhofe, was killed in a weekend plane crash in northeast Oklahoma, the Defence department confirmed on Monday.
Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesperson, said that Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel "was informed of Senator Inhofe's son's death".
Perry Inhofe, an orthopaedic surgeon, died when the small plane he was piloting crashed on Sunday near Owasso, a Tulsa suburb.
Perry Inhofe, who worked at Central States Orthopaedics in Tulsa, was one of four children of Oklahoma's senior US 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 on Monday at Inhofe's clinic weren't immediately returned.
Rising rate of accidents
The multiengine plane was headed to Tulsa International Airport when it crashed shortly before 16:00 on Sunday about eight kilometres north of the airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The plane had taken off from Salina, Kansas.
Jake Bray told the Tulsa World newspaper that he saw the crash from about 365m away, saying one propeller appeared to be out before "it started spiralling out of control and it hit the ground".
Jim Inhofe, aged 79, has been a pilot for more than 50 years and owns several planes. The Republican is known for flying to campaign stops across the state.
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 on Sunday was a 1974 Mitsubishi MU-2B-25, a fixed-wing, multi-engine aircraft.
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. As a result, the agency developed a new comprehensive standardised pilot training programme for the aircraft in 2008.