Man who flew to space with William Shatner on Blue Origin flight dies in plane crash

Glen de Vries, an entrepreneur who traveled to space with William Shatner last month aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft, has died in a plane crash in Northern New Jersey, Blue Origin confirmed. 

"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," Blue Origin tweeted. "His passion for aviation, his charitable work, and his dedication to his craft will long be revered and admired."

De Vries was accompanied by Thomas P. Fischer, 54, of Hopatcong, who were both aboard the single-engine Cessna 172 that went down Thursday in a wooded area of Hampton Township. 

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 3 p.m. Emergency crews found the wreckage around 4 p.m., the FAA said.


NS-18 crew member, Medidata Solutions Co-Founder, Glen de Vries, attends a press conference at the New Shepard rocket landing pad on October 13, 2021, in the West Texas region, 25 miles (40kms) north of Van Horn. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (P

De Vries founded Medidata Solutions, a tech company, and was a trustee at Carnegie Mellon University. He traveled Oct. 13 aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft, spending more than 10 minutes in space after launching along with Shatner and others.

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Last month, de Vries was launched into space with actor William Shatner, Australian entrepreneur Chris Boshuizen and Blue Origin’s vice president of mission and flight operations, Audrey powers where they floated above the Earth’s atmosphere for 10 minutes. 

The Associated Press contributed to this story.