Glen de Vries, who flew into outer space with William Shatner last month, died in a plane crash on Thursday at age 49.
According to The Sun, de Vries and 54-year-old Thomas Fischer died in the plane crash near Hampton, New Jersey around 3 p.m. yesterday. The FAA notified the authorities that a “single-engine Cessna 172” went missing near Kemah Lake. The plane was supposedly traveling to Sussex Airport from Essex County Airport.
By 4 p.m., EMT crews discovered the plane wreck. The authorities identified the bodies earlier today.
The FAA is investigating the crash, and an initial report from them says the plane was “destroyed,” according to The Sun. The outlet also reported that the crash happened “under unknown circumstances.”
De Vries joined William Shatner on Oct. 13 on a space flight with Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origin. Audrey Powers, a Blue Origin executive, and entrepreneur Chris Boshuizen also joined De Vries and William Shatner on the 10-minute flight.
De Vries was an entrepreneur himself. William Shatner’s space flight partner worked as a molecular biologist, according to CBS News, and co-founded Medidata Solutions, a clinical research platform. Dassault Systèmes acquired the company back in 1999 and sent out a statement about de Vries’ death earlier today.
“Our thoughts and support go out to Glen’s family,” a Dassault Systèmes spokesperson said. “Our deepest sympathy also goes out to our MEDIDATA team, which Glen co-founded. His tireless energy, empathy, and pioneering spirit left their mark on everyone who knew him. We will truly miss Glen, but his dreams — which we share — live on: We will pursue progress in life sciences & healthcare as passionately as he did.”
Per CBS News, de Vries was a private pilot in his spare time. The Sun also claimed Fischer was a “second-generation flight instructor.” At this time, we don’t know who was flying the plane when it crashed.
William Shatner’s Space Partner, Glen De Vries, Reflects on Trip To Outer Space Before Death
When William Shatner and the other crewmates launched off, Glen de Vries had one thought in mind. He told CBS News before takeoff that he wanted to gain a new “perspective.”
“I am actually looking forward to seeing the Earth from a different perspective than I ever had before,” he said. “I just can’t wait to stare out that window and feel differently about humanity and our planet than I’ve ever had the opportunity to before.”
After the flight, the entrepreneur felt passionate that more people should travel to space. He hoped interest would grow in the space industry to make it something reasonable for anybody.
“I thought that would be important to me before we went up,” de Vries said. “And having done it makes me feel twice as much conviction. Maybe a thousand times more conviction. That is something we need to make accessible, in an equitable way, to as many people on the planet as possible.”
Hopefully, his dream will be realized someday.