US space tourist dies in plane crash

Glen de Vries flew into space with “Star Trek” actor William Shatner on last month’s Blue Origin flight



US businessman Glen de Vries. — AFP file
US businessman Glen de Vries. — AFP file

By AFP

Published: Sat 13 Nov 2021, 12:39 AM

US businessman Glen de Vries, who flew into space with “Star Trek” actor William Shatner on last month’s Blue Origin flight, has died in a plane crash, the police said on Friday.

The small aircraft came down in Hampton Township, New Jersey, about 95 kilometres west of New York City, shortly before 3pm (1900 GMT) on Thursday, a spokesman for New Jersey state police told AFP. The aircraft had departed from Essex County Airport in Caldwell and was headed to Sussex Airport when the Federal Aviation Administration alerted public safety agencies to look for the missing plane around 3 p.m. Emergency crews found the wreckage around 4 p.m., the FAA said.

“There are two confirmed fatalities,” the spokesman said, naming de Vries, 49, and 54-year-old Thomas Fischer.

“The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) will be the lead investigating agency,” he added, without providing more details.

De Vries, the founder of clinical research platform Medidata Solutions, joined Shatner on Blue Origin’s second crewed mission on October 13.

Also, on board for the 11-minute journey that took them beyond Earth’s atmosphere and back again were Blue Origin executive Audrey Powers and Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen.

“We are devastated to hear of the sudden passing of Glen de Vries,” Blue Origin said in a tweet.

“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.”


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