Blue Origin crew member Glen de Vries tragically died in a plane crash in New Jersey on Thursday, November 12.
The New Jersey State Police confirmed to the NY Post the fatal accident happened around 3 p.m. on Thursday. The small aircraft had taken off from Essex County Airport in Caldwell, NJ and was headed to Sussex Airport.
Thomas Fischer, 54, also died in the crash. It is unclear which of the two men were piloting the aircraft at the time of the accident.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the Cessna 172 was “destroyed” by the fatal crash and the cause remains unknown. The agency is launching an investigation into the matter.
Blue Origin released a statement after the news of de Vries passing, tweeting, “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.”
De Vries was a private pilot and molecular biologist who cofounded Medidata Solutions — a technical company that develops software for clinical trials. The company was acquired by Dassault Systèmes in 1999.
“Our thoughts and support go out to Glen’s family,” Dassault Systèmes said in a statement, adding the 49-year-old entrepreneur's “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.”
His widow, Maria, broke her silence after his body was publicly identified by the FAA. “I would just say that Glen was an amazing man, larger than life. He always seemed like a superhero to me, so smart, so talented, generous and really funny,” she told The Daily Beast. “A huge light has gone out in the world.”