The businessman Glen de Vries, who flew into space alongside “Star Trek” actor William Shatner on Blue Origin’s manned mission in October, died in a plane crashpolice reported Friday.
The small aircraft in which he was traveling collapsed in Hampton Township, New Jersey, about 95 miles west of New York, shortly after 3 p.m. (local time, 19 GMT) on Thursday, a spokesman for the New Jersey state police told AFP.
“There are two confirmed deaths,” the spokesman said, identifying De Vries, 49, and Thomas Fischer, 54. De Vries was a private pilot with instrument qualification, and Fischer owned a flight school. Authorities have not said who was piloting the plane.
The investigation will be left to the US civil aviation regulator, the FAA, he added.
De Vries, founder of the health research platform Medidata Solutions, joined Shatner and two other passengers on Blue Origin’s second manned flight on October 13. “It’s going to take me a while to describe it. It was amazing, ”de Vries said as Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos attached his“ astronaut wings ”to his blue flight suit. He had participated in an auction for a seat on the first flight and bought a seat on the second trip.
“We are devastated to learn of the sudden passing of Glen de Vries,” Blue Origin said on Twitter. “He brought a lot of vitality and energy to the entire Blue Origin team and his fellow travelers. His passion for aviation, his charitable work, and his dedication to his craft will long be revered and admired.“
De Vries also served on the board of directors of Carnegie Mellon University.
Fischer owned the Fischer Aviation flight school and was its chief instructor, according to the company’s website.
(With information from AFP and AP)
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