Caldwell, NJ

Plane Crash in Sussex County Kills Two, Including Astronaut of Blue Origin

Morristown Minute

Two have been confirmed dead after a single-engine plane, Cessna 172, crashed in a "wooded area of a state park near Lake Kemah" around 2:50 PM Thursday, November 11, 2021, according to an FAA representative.

The single-engine Cessna 172 departed from the Essex County Airport in Caldwell, New Jersey, and was reported missing at around 3:oo PM by FAA alert. At approximately 4:00 PM the same day, Thursday 11/11, New Jersey State Police found the single-engine plane which had crashed near Lake Kemah in Sussex County near Caldwell, New Jersey.

The New Jersey State Police named the two victims of the single-engine plane crash in Hampton Township's Kemah Lake section of Sussex County. The victims were Thomas P. Fischer, 54, of Hopatcong, and Glen M. de Vries, 49 of New York, New York, according to Trooper Brandi Slota, a spokesperson from the State Police.

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. 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.

The FAA approximated the crash to take place at around 2:50 PM Thursday, 11/11. The plane took off from Essex County Airport heading towards Sussex County Airport and never arrived. The National Transportation Safety Board will handle the investigation along with the FAA, both of whom will provide updates throughout the inquiry.

The crash occurred just under twelve miles from Sussex Airport. The distance between Essex County and Sussex County Airports is just under forty miles. The quick flight clearly had intense difficulties which at this point could be from mechanical or pilot error. No information has been released yet as to why and how exactly the single-engine plane crashed.

68% of airplane accidents occur from single-engine planes. Personal flights, small planes with a limited amount of people, and non-commercial pilots account for 74% of airplane accidents and 81% of air travel fatalities.

This is a developing investigation. More information to come at Morristown Minute.

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