After a month of suborbital space travel with Star Trek actor William Shatner, medical technology entrepreneur Glen de Vries was killed in a small plane crash in New Jersey.
New Jersey police confirmed that 49 year old DeVries was one of the two people who crashed in a forest area with a single engine Cessna 172 shortly after taking off from Caldwell, New Jersey, on Thursday. The other victim was 54 year old Thomas P. Fisher, New Jersey officials quoted sources as saying.
De Vries is the co-founder of medidata solutions, a medical software company, which was acquired by Dassault systems for $5.8 billion in 2019.
He bought a ticket from Jeff Bezos’s blue origin space venture at an undisclosed price to participate in the company’s second manned suborbital space flight in October – together with Shatner, Chris boshuizen, co-founder of planet labs, and Audrey powers, CEO of blue origin (Audrey powers).
After the flight, de Frith told an interviewer at Carnegie Mellon University that he had dreamed of going to space for decades. “I’m glad to be part of the fuel. In aviation metaphor, it helps the plane take off,” he said.
He said he had a broader view of life when he came back from his trip. In an interview with CMU, he said: “the passage of time is like the resources on the earth. With the expansion of vision, it feels more precious.”.
Information on Thursday’s crash was not immediately available. According to nj.com, Fisher was certified as a flight instructor and de Frith had a student pilot’s license.
On a twitter, blue origin said it was “shocked” to hear about de Frith’s death.