A businessman who travelled to space with William Shatner last month has died after a small plane crashed in New Jersey.
Glen de Vries, 49, had been aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft on 13 October, spending more than 10 minutes in space after launching along with Shatner and others.
He was killed along with another person in the New Jersey crash, state police said.
We are devastated to hear of the sudden passing of Glen de Vries. He brought so much life and energy to the entire Blue Origin team and to his fellow crewmates. His passion for aviation, his charitable work, and his dedication to his craft will long be revered and admired. pic.twitter.com/1hwnjntTVs
— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) November 12, 2021
The plane, a single-engine Cessna 172, went down on Thursday in a wooded area of Hampton Township, in the northern part of the state.
The Federal Aviation Administration alerted public safety agencies to look for the missing plane in the afternoon.
Emergency crews found the wreckage about an hour later.
Blue Origin, the space company founded by Jeff Bezos, said they were “devastated” over the sudden death of Mr de Vries.
“He brought so much life and energy to the entire Blue Origin team and to his fellow crewmates”, the company said.
“His passion for aviation, his charitable work, and his dedication to his craft will long be revered and admired.”
After the space flight, Mr de Vries had said: “It’s going to take me a while to be able to describe it. It was incredible.”
Mr de Vries was the founder of Medidata Solutions, a clinical research company.
The other person killed in the crash was Thomas P. Fischer, 54. the founder of a family-run flight school and its head instructor.
Mr Bezos’ partner, Lauren Sanchez, called Mr de Vries’ death a “painful loss”.
“We got to know Glen de Vries, an incredible man, and his partner Leah last month”, she wrote on Instagram.
“Leah’s love for Glen was visible every time we saw them together. When he took off for space she gripped my hand so tight it hurt. Thinking of that moment today with a broken heart. Our deepest sympathies go out to Leah and Glen’s family, we are so saddened by the tragic news.”