49-year-old Glen de Vries, a business mogul who just last month went into space, died in a place crash in a wooded area of Hampton Township, N.J. According to reports, Thomas Fischer, an owner of an aviation company, was also in the plane with Vries and died alongside him. Police are investigating the cause of the crash.
N.J. police officers reported that the single-engine Cessna 172 crashed yesterday near a N.J. state park in Lake Kemah. Officers have not yet identified which man was piloting the plane. The National Transportation Board is also running their own investigation.
According to police, the plane had been missing for an hour before it was reported that it crashed. N.J. state troopers responded to a report of the crash around 2:50 p.m. The FAA said that the plane had taken off from Essex County Airport and was scheduled to land in Sussex Airport.
Glen de Vries was the vice chairman of life sciences and healthcare at Dassault Systèmes. The company is a software corporation that develops software for 3-D production, manufacturing and simulation. The parent company, Medidata Solutions., was co-founded by Glen de Vries.
An employee of his said he was inspiring and that the life sciences industry lost an important part of their world. Nadia M. Bracken said, “The world lost a visionary. May his legacy of innovation in the life sciences industry live on.”
The company announced their vice chairman’s death on their social media. They said, “Our thoughts and support go out to Glen’s family,” said the New York-based Dassault Systèmes. They added that Glen de Vries “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.”
The 49-year-old was also picked to go up in space on Oct. 13 with William Shatner as a part of Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origin company. The company posted a touching tribute to the fallen astronaut after his passing.
They wrote, “We are devastated to hear of the sudden passing of Glen de Vries,” a spokesperson for Blue Origin said. “He brought so much life and energy to the entire Blue Origin team and to his fellow crewmates. His passion for aviation, his charitable work, and his dedication to his craft will long be revered and admired.”
The Blue Origin space flight was just 10 minutes, but according to both men, it was incredible. The space flight brought the men 60 miles above Earth’s orbit and they were able to to feel weightlessness in zero gravity for about four minutes of their flight. The flight made William Shatner one of the oldest people to go into space. It was the second space flight for the company.
William Shatner has yet to comment on the death of his fellow astronaut.
Before his death, Glen de Vries hoped that his space flight would inspire others to explore the unknown. He said, “I thought that would be important to me before we went up, and having done it makes me feel twice as much conviction,” de Vries said. “Maybe a thousand times more conviction. That is something we need to make accessible, in an equitable way, to as many people on the planet as possible.”