Glen de Vries, one of the Blue Origin passengers who flew into space with Star Trek legend William Shatner last month, has reportedly died in a plane crash. He was 49 at the time of his passing.
The Blue Origin astronaut was onboard a single-engine, fixed-wing Cessna 172 Skyhawk aircraft that crashed into a wooded area near Hampton Township in Sussex County, killing him and fellow passenger Thomas Fisher.
French software company Dassault Systemes spoke to CBS about de Vries’ tragic passing and sent their condolences to his family:
"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."
Blue Origin also issued an official statement on Twitter saying they are “devasted” with the loss of the American businessman:
Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos and his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez also poured in their heartfelt tributes to Glen de Vries on social media:
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), de Vries’ plane took off from Essex County Airport and was headed towards Sussex Airport.
It was reported missing around 3 pm local time and located in a wooded area near Kemah Lake alongside two fatalities. No immediate cause of the crash has been revealed so far.
A glance into the life of Glen de Vries
Glen de Vries was a successful American businessman who was part of the historic second-ever human flight to space last month. He was one of the two passengers who paid to be in Blue Origin’s New Shephard NS-18 space flight.
He was born on June 29, 1972 and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1994 with a degree in Biological Sciences. He was known as the co-founder and CEO of Metadata Solutions, a company specializing in clinical trials of software.
Under his leadership, the company also became the most-used clinical research platform in the world. The 49-year-old also served as vice-chairman of life sciences and healthcare at French software company Dassault Systemes.
He was also the owner and primary instructor of a family-run flight school, Fischer Aviation, based in Essex County. Before his space flight, Glen de Vries told Blue Origin that extending human reach into space would allow humanity to thrive further in life:
"I've spent my entire career working to extend people's lives. However, with limited materials and energy on Earth, extending our reach into space can help humanity continue to thrive."
Following the historic mission, de Vries opened up about his experience in an interview with The Sun:
"You go from the horizon being a straight line, to the horizon being curved and back in an extraordinarily short amount of time. That sense of speed and that sense of transition was just something that was unexpected, really exciting part of the flight."
Glen de Vries was recognized as a hardworking and dedicated individual with an immense passion for flying. Family, friends, colleagues and industry associates will dearly miss him.