SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ — The New Jersey State Police named the two victims of the single-engine plane crash who died in Hampton Township’s Kemah Lake section of Sussex County on Thursday afternoon.
Thomas P. Fischer, 54, of Hopatcong and Glen M. de Vries, 49 of New York, New York, died in the crash, Trooper Brandi Slota, a spokesperson from the State Police, said early Friday.
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De Vries traveled along with William Shatner who played Captain Kirk in “Star Trek,” in a “fully automated capsule constructed by Jeff Bezos’ space tourism company, Blue Origin,” in October, as well as Chris Boshuizen and Audrey Powers, for the second passenger flight in the capsule, after Bezos flew the first.
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“Our thoughts and support go out to Glen’s family,” a Dassault Systèmes spokesperson, of which de Vries’ Medidata is a subsidiary, told Patch on Friday. “Our deepest sympathy also goes out to our MEDIDATA team, which Glen co-founded. His 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.”
CNBC’s Michael Sheetz, a Space Reporter for the news outlet, tweeted about de Vries as the CEO of Medidata and the “Blue Origin astronaut” who flew with William Shatner to space last month.”
Blue Origin posted on Friday afternoon about the tragedy, describing de Vries as bringing “so much life and energy to the entire Blue Origin team and to his fellow crewmates.”
Boshuizen also tweeted about de Vries on Friday evening, writing that he took “some small consolation in knowing he [de Vries] fulfilled his life-long dream and lived his life to the fullest.”
Fischer was the owner and chief flight instructor of Fischer Aviation at Essex County Airport in Caldwell, where de Vries had started as a student in 2016, according to the school’s website.
Trooper Charles Marchan, a spokesperson for the State Police, said Thursday evening that troopers arrived to the scene of the crash in Hampton Township at about 2:50 p.m., where there were “two confirmed fatalities.”
A spokesperson for the FAA told Patch on Thursday that at about 3 p.m., the FAA sent out an alert that sometime after leaving Essex County Airport in Caldwell for Sussex Airport, the Cessna 172 went missing. State Police reported to the FAA at about 4 p.m., they had found the plane in “a wooded area of a state park near Lake Kemah,” an FAA representative said.
According to information released by the FAA so far about the crash on Friday, the aircraft, which was classified as “destroyed,” “crashed under unknown circumstances in a heavily-wooded area.”
This is a developing story, Patch will provide updates as they are available.