A MAN who flew to space with William Shatner last month has died in a plane crash.
Glen de Vries, 49, boarded the Blue Origin on October 13 and completed the mission alongside the Star Trek actor, who became the oldest man in space.
However, on Thursday, de Vries became one of two people to die following a plane crash in Hampton, New Jersey.
He was alongside Thomas Fischer, 54, who was a second-generation flight instructor.
The Federal Aviation Administration alerted public safety authorities at around 3pm that a single-engine Cessna 172 had gone missing near Kemah Lake.
Emergency crews later found the wreckage at around 4pm. The victims were identified today.
Police said that the aircraft was headed toward Sussex Airport from Essex County Airport.
The aircraft was "destroyed" in the crash which occurred "under unknown circumstances," an initial report from the FAA said.
de Vries began his private pilot training with Fischer back in February 2016. It is unclear who was flying the plane at the time of the crash.
Following his trip to space last month, de Vries said in an interview: "You go from the horizon being a straight line, to the horizon being curved and back in an extraordinarily short amount of time.
"That sense of speed and that sense of transition was just something that was unexpected, really exciting part of the flight."
FLEW WITH SHATNER
Alongside him on the space-flight was renowned actor William Shatner, Blue Origin Vice President of Mission and Flight Operations Audrey Powers, who helped lead the team, and fellow paying customer entrepreneur Chris Boshuizen.
Over a million people came together to watch the live stream of the 10-minute launch.
Video shows the actor floating and looking down at the earth from the Blue Origin mission, dubbed NS-18. It was the second human-crewed mission aboard Amazon billionaire Bezos' company's rocket.
Prior to the flight, Shatner said he was "terrified" of going to space, adding he felt "comfortable, but I am also uncomfortable."
"I’ll be very happy when we go up, and we’ll be in weightlessness, and we know we’re safe because everything else should be alright."
"And we have that moment of inspiration which I feel will be there when we’re looking into the vastness of the universe."
Bezos was there to welcome the passengers back to the ground.
"Hello, astronauts. Welcome to Earth!" Bezos exclaimed.
JOURNEY ON BEZOS' JET
But upon his return, Shatner was too elated to speak.
“I’ve heard about space for a long time now. I’m taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle."
"What you have given me is the most profound experience," Shatner told Bezos upon his return. "I hope I never recover from this. I hope that I can maintain what I feel now. I don't want to lose it."
"In an instant, you go, `Whoa, that's death.' That's what I saw."
Overall, Bezos said he's made more than $100million in selling tickets to board his rocket.
The capsule, dubbed the "New Shepard" after the first astronaut Alan Shepard, was built with human spaceflight in mind, allowing Shatner and other passengers to be strapped into harnesses but avoid wearing helmets.
Following the tragic news, Blue Origin issued a statement in tribute to the young pilot.
"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.
"His passion for aviation, his charitable work, and his dedication to his craft will long be revered and admired."
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