Glen De Vries, Who Flew to Space With William Shatner on Blue Origin, Dies in Plane Crash

Glen de Vries, who flew to space on Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin flight alongside actor William Shatner, died in a plane crash on Thursday.

According to CBS News, the New Jersey State Police said that 49-year-old de Vries and 54-year-old Thomas P. Fischer were both killed in the crash.

WCBS-TV in New York reported that the small plane crashed after taking off from the Essex County Airport in New Jersey.

In a statement sent to Newsweek, a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said, "Local law enforcement notified the FAA that they located a single-engine Cessna 172 that had crashed in a wooded area of a state park near Lake Kemah, New Jersey around 4 p.m. Thursday."

"The FAA issued an Alert Notice (ALNOT) shortly before 3 p.m. to public safety agencies to alert them about the missing aircraft," the statement continued. "The flight departed Essex County Airport in Caldwell, New Jersey for Sussex Airport. Two people were on board."

De Vries made headlines last month when he and Shatner traveled to space for several minutes in Bezos' Blue Origin rocket. In addition to Shatner and de Vries, Blue Origin's vice president Audrey Powers and paying customer Chris Boshuizen were also aboard the flight to space in October.

In a tweet on Friday, Blue Origin wrote, "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," the tweet continued. "His passion for aviation, his charitable work, and his dedication to his craft will long be revered and admired."

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

According to CBS News, de Vries co-founded the research firm, Medidata Solutions and was a private pilot. In 2019, Dassault Systèmes acquired Medidata Solutions and in a statement sent to CBS News, a spokesperson for Dassault Systèmes said, "Our thoughts and support go out to Glen's family."

"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," the spokesperson told CBS News.

After returning from space, de Vries spoke with KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh and said that he wanted to make traveling to space more accessible for others.

"I thought that would be important to me before we went up, 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," he told the station.

Blue Origin
Glen de Vries, who flew to space with Blue Origin's Jeff Bezos earlier this month, died in a plane crash on Thursday, November 11, 2021. Above, Blue Origin's vice president of mission and flight operations Audrey Powers, Star Trek actor William Shatner, Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen and Medidata Solutions co-founder Glen de Vries wave during a media availability on the landing pad of Blue Origin’s New Shepard after they flew into space on October 13, 2021 near Van Horn, Texas. Mario Tama/Getty