Glen de Vries, a businessman who accompanied William Shatner into space on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, died in a plane crash on Thursday, Nov. 11. He was 49.
The plane went down in Sussex County, New Jersey just before 3 p.m., according to New Jersey State Police. Thomas P. Fischer, 54, was also on board the small plane and died in the crash
“We are devastated to hear of the sudden passing of Glen de Vries. He brought so much life and energy to the entire Blue Origin team and to his fellow crewmates,” the Blue Origin team tweeted. “His passion for aviation, his charitable work, and his dedication to his craft will long be revered and admired.”
De Vries was a private pilot in his spare time. He went to space with actor William Shatner, Chris Boshuizen and Audrey Powers on the New Shepard NS-18 in October 2021, the second Blue Origin flight to carry humans. Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos greeted the passengers upon their return.
The training De Vries received and his background in molecular biology led him to co-found Medidata Solutions, the most-used clinical research platform in the world. The company’s software has managed more than 25,000 clinical trials involving more than seven million patients. Dassault Systèmes acquired the company in 2019 for $5.8 billion.
De Vries graduated from Carnegie Melon University, where he also became a member of the board of trustees.
“The entire Carnegie Mellon University community is devastated by the loss of alumnus and trustee Glen de Vries,” wrote CMU President Farnam Jahanian in a statement Friday. “To be in Glen’s presence was to be immersed in his exuberance and zest for life, and I am filled with tremendous sorrow that we will no longer be able to experience this gift or share it with others.”
“Playing a part in advancing the space industry and one day making those resources and that understanding available to everyone is an incredible opportunity,” de Vries said of going to space before his flight. “I’ve been passionate about aviation and space for as long as I can remember, so this flight is truly a dream come true.”
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash, police said.