Entrepreneur Glen de Vries, who blasted into space alongside Star Trek’s William Shatner last month with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, was killed in a airplane crash on Thursday, New Jersey State Police mentioned.
The one-engine Cessna 172 crashed in Sussex County, New Jersey, shortly earlier than 3 p.m., according to FAA data. De Vries, 49, and Thomas P. Fischer, 54, had been killed. Rescue crews discovered the wreckage about an hour later. Their identities were withheld in the immediate aftermath of the crash, which is being investigated by the FAA, a state police spokesperson mentioned.
De Vries, a personal pilot, marathoner, and ballroom dancer throughout his off-hours, was a molecular biologist who cofounded Medidata Options, a medical analysis platform that was acquired by Dassault Systèmes in 1999 for $5.8 billion.
His father, Alan, informed The Day by day Beast that he “hadn’t actually considered an announcement to the press,” and spoke about his late son off the cuff.
“I can solely simply let you know the household is devastated by this extraordinary loss,” he mentioned. “He was probably the most superb human beings you may’ve ever met. He gave a lot to so many individuals, and because of his work, in all probability tens of millions of lives have been saved.
“There may be a lot to say about him. We’re simply devastated. I’m nonetheless completely in a state of shock—myself and his mom’s household and my daughter, we’re simply all nonetheless in a state of shock. He lived life to the fullest, and I feel he gave to the fullest. It’s simply who he was.”
Fischer, who owned a flight faculty in Fairfield, New Jersey, was de Vries’ flight teacher, according to the company’s website. The 2 had been on a coaching flight when their airplane crashed right into a “closely wooded space” beneath “unknown circumstances,” the FAA’s incident report states.
A Dassault spokesperson mentioned in an announcement on Friday that Glen’s “tireless power, empathy and pioneering spirit left their mark on everybody who knew him. We are going to actually miss Glen, however his goals—which we share—stay on: we are going to pursue progress in life sciences & healthcare as passionately as he did.”
Final month, previous to blasting into house for roughly 10 minutes, de Vries expressed pleasure about how the voyage would alter his world view.
“I’m truly trying ahead to seeing the Earth from a distinct perspective than I ever had earlier than… Individuals who’ve achieved it earlier than us [have] come down modified,” he informed CBS News in an interview. “I simply can’t wait to stare out that window and really feel otherwise about humanity and our planet than I’ve ever had the chance to earlier than.”
Talking to Carnegie Mellon University a week after the flight, de Vries mentioned that turning into an astronaut by “standard means” was one thing that he may not do. His enterprise success had made it doable for him to afford personal house journey, de Vries mentioned, including that after “years speaking in regards to the want for fairness and entry on this planet of well being care,” he’d wish to see house “democratized in the identical manner.”
De Vries’ Instagram web page options quite a few footage of him in entrance of small, personal plane.
4 days in the past, he posted a photograph from Limington-Harmon Airport in a far-flung city in Maine. The airport was little greater than “runway tucked within the woods,” he mentioned, however included “a extremely good restaurant! Value a visit!