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William Shatner crew mate on space flight killed in small plane crash in New Jersey

Glen de Vries, 49, who made the historic flight to the edge of space last month with Shatner, was one of two men killed in Thursday's single-engine crash.

William Shatner’s crew mate in last month’s historic rocket trip to the edge of space was one of two men killed Thursday in a plane crash in New Jersey, officials said.

Glen de Vries, 49, of New York City, and Thomas P. Fischer, 54, of Hopatcong, New Jersey, died following the small aircraft crash shortly before 3 p.m. in Hampton Township, according to New Jersey State Police.

De Vries joined Shatner and other crew members aboard the Oct. 13 flight developed by Blue Origin, the private spaceflight company founded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating Thursday's crash, police said. The FAA could not be immediately reached Friday for comment.

The New Jersey Herald reported the FAA alerted public safety authorities that a single-engine Cessna 172 went missing near Kemah Lake, about 50 miles northwest of Newark. Emergency crews found the wreckage about an hour later, the newspaper reported.

The aircraft was “destroyed” in the crash, which occurred “under unknown circumstances,” an initial report by the FAA states, according to the Herald.

De Vries co-founded software company Medidata Solutions, which specializes in management of electronic data from clinical trials. He also served as a trustee for Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Image: Chris Boshuizen, William Shatner, Audrey Powers and Glen de Vries are scheduled to launch Oct. 13, 2021.
Chris Boshuizen, William Shatner, Audrey Powers and Glen de Vries flew into space on Oct. 13, 2021 near Van Horn, Texas.Blue Origin / via AP

“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," Medidat said in a statement.

De Vries received his undergraduate degree in molecular biology and genetics from Carnegie Mellon University, worked as a research scientist at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and studied computer science at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematics, according to his biography on the Medidata website.

A statement from Carnegie Mellon University President Farnam Jahanian called de Vries one of the university's greatest science advocates.

"The entire Carnegie Mellon University community is devastated by the loss of alumnus and trustee Glen de Vries, and our hearts go out to his family, friends and loved ones," Jahanian said.