WASHINGTON — The body of Perry Dyson Inhofe II was positively identified Tuesday by the Oklahoma chief medical examiner's office as the victim of a plane crash on Sunday near Owasso.
The 51-year-old surgeon was the son of U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and his wife, Kay. He was the pilot and only occupant of the plane when it crashed.
The medical examiner's office used dental records to make the identification. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.
His funeral service is scheduled for Thursday at First Presbyterian Church in Tulsa. Perry Inhofe, the eldest of the four Inhofe children, is survived by his wife, Nancy, and two sons.
While U.S. Senate leaders extended their condolences to the Inhofe family, the senator made no public statement Tuesday, and a representative asked that the family's privacy be respected.
In remarks on the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said, “flying airplanes is in the blood of Jim Inhofe and his family.”
“I really care a lot about Jim Inhofe,” Reid said. “He and I are unquestionably friends ... He's a man of great faith, and I feel comfortable that he will be able to work his way through this.”
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, spoke of the “heartbreaking loss” and the Senate chaplain included the Inhofes in his daily prayer.
Gov. Mary Fallin said, “This is such a sudden and tragic loss of an outstanding, talented man. My thoughts and prayers are with the Inhofe family during this very difficult time.”
And Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, said, “My heart goes out to my friend and colleague Senator Inhofe and his wife Kay as they grieve the passing of their son, who was so very loved by his family, friends and community.”
Dozens of people posted comments on the senator's Facebook page offering condolences; some comments came from patients praising the skills and compassion of the late physician, an orthopedic surgeon who specialized in hands.
In 1999, Inhofe and a team of surgeons reattached a man's hand that had been severed in an industrial accident, according to a news story carried by The Oklahoman.
The crash occurred about 3:40 p.m. Sunday in a heavily wooded area near the 8800 block of E 98th Street North. Citing information from FlightAware, the Tulsa World reported that the plane took off from Salina, Kan., and was en route to Tulsa International Airport on a 43-minute flight.