HAMPTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — Federal investigators have released some details on the small plane crash that killed a one-time space traveler and another man last month.
The Nov. 11 crash in a wooded area of northwestern New Jersey killed 49-year-old Glen de Vries of New York City, who had traveled to the edge of space aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft about a month earlier with actor William Shatner and others. Also killed was 54-year-old Thomas Fischer of Hopatcong, New Jersey.
De Vries was an instrument-rated private pilot, and Fischer owned a flight school. Authorities haven't said who was piloting the single-engine Cessna.
A preliminary report released late Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Boards said de Vries and Fischer took off from Essex County Airport in Caldwell and flew for about 18 minutes, reaching an altitude of 6400 feet (1,950 meters) before the plane began “a steep descending left turn that continued until the flight track data was lost.”
A preliminary examination of the plane’s engine didn’t reveal any mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have prevented the normal operation of the plane, according to the report.
A final report listing a cause for the crash could take a year or more to complete.