Glen de Vries, who flew to space with William Shatner, killed in plane crash

Blue Origin's official portrait, Glen de Vries (taken ahead of his New Shepard NS-18 Spaceflight in 2021).
Glen de Vries was one of the passengers who went with William Shatner, "Star Trek", on his Blue Origin spaceflight last month. He was tragically killed in a plane accident in New Jersey on Thursday, November 11.

Patch reports that de Vries, a 49-year-old man, and one other passenger were killed when their single-engine fixed-wing aircraft, a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, crashed into a wooded area in Sussex County. Thomas Fisher, 54, from Hopatcong (New Jersey) was also onboard the plane.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), reported the plane as missing around 3:00 p.m. CST, just after it took off from Essex County Airport, Caldwell. Patch reported that the plane was heading towards Sussex Airport. The plane was found "in a heavily wooded area" by Hampton Township state police about an hour later. According to an FAA report, the circumstances leading to the crash remain unknown.

Related: William Shatner, crew of 3, launch to the last frontier on Blue Origin rocket

"We are shocked to learn of Glen de Vries' sudden death." Blue Origin released a statement via Twitter saying that Glen de Vries brought so much energy and life to the team and his crewmates. His passion for aviation, charitable work and dedication to his craft will be remembered and admired forever.

De Vries was co-founder of Medidata Solutions, a platform for clinical research. He also served as vice chair of healthcare at Dassault Systemes in France. Dassault Systemes acquired Medidata in 2019.

De Vries stated in a Blue Origin statement that he had spent his entire career helping people. "However with limited resources and energy on Earth it is possible to extend our reach into space. This can help humanity thrive."

In a statement obtained by CBS, a spokesperson for Dassault Systemes said that "Our thoughts and support go to Glen's family." Glen's MEDIDATA team also deserves our deepest sympathy. Everyone who knew Glen was touched by his tireless energy, empathy, and pioneering spirit. Glen will be missed, but we will continue to pursue his dreams -- which are shared -- in the life sciences and healthcare.

Image 1: Glen de Vries, one of three, looks out of the New Shepard capsule's window after it returned from space on October 13, 2021. (Image credit to Blue Origin) Image 2: Jeff Bezos places astronaut wings on Glen de Vries, after the Blue Origin NS-18 space mission on Oct. 13, 2021. (Image credit to Blue Origin) Image 3: Glen de Vries before boarding the New Shepard capsule, Oct. 13, 2021. Blue Origin Image Credit

De Vries was among two paying customers who were selected to fly with Shatner, Blue Origin's vice-president of mission and flight operations Audrey Powers. Planet cofounder Chris Boshuizen was also a paying client. The four passengers took a round-trip 10-minute flight to space on Oct. 13. They spent approximately four minutes in weightlessness.

Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos said that it was "incredible" upon his return to Earth. Bezos had pinned astronaut wings on his flight suit, and de Vries agreed. "It was the greatest thing I've ever done."

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