A Blue Origin crew member who went to space with William Shatner last month was killed along with another person when a small plane crashed in northern New Jersey on Thursday.
Glen M de Vries, 49, of New York City, and Thomas P Fischer, 54, of Hopatcong, were aboard the single-engine Cessna 172 that went down in a wooded area of Hampton Township, about 40 miles northwest of New York City, state police said.
De Vries was the founder of tech company Medidata Solutions, and served as a trustee at Carnegie Mellon University. He was aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft on October 13 along with Shatner and others, where they spent more than 10 minutes in space.
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In a social media post he called it his ‘oldest, and lifelong enduring dream’ to go to space.
‘Our thoughts and support go out to Glen’s family,’ said a spokesperson for Dassault Systèmes, where de Vries was the vice chairman of life sciences and healthcare. 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.’
De Vries never disclosed how much he paid for a seat on the New Shepherd spacecraft, but told the media it was well worth the investment.
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‘We are devastated to hear of the sudden passing of Glen de Vries,’ a spokesperson for Blue Origin said. ‘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.’
Fischer owned the family-run Fischer Aviation, where he was the head flight instructor.
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 3pm.
Emergency crews found the wreckage around 4 pm, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.
Photo Credit: Getty