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Apollo 8 Astronaut Dies In Tragic Plane Crash

Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders died in a tragic plane crash on Friday.

Anders, known for his iconic “earthrise” photo, was among the first three people to orbit the moon.

On Friday, authorities reported Anders’ small plane crashed into the water north of Seattle.

The U.S. Coast Guard reported just before 1 p.m., the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office responded to a plane crash near Jones Island and later retrieved the body of Anders.

Anders’s son, Lt. Col. Greg Anders, said, “The family is devastated. He was a great pilot, and we will miss him terribly.”

Per NBC News:

William Anders, an astronaut who was one of the first three people to orbit the moon, and who took the famous “Earthrise” photo, died Friday after a small plane he was in crashed in the water north of Seattle, according to NASA, local officials and his family. He was 90.

The Coast Guard for the Pacific Northwest said just before 1 p.m. local time that it and the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office were responding to a plane crash between Orcas and Jones islands, which are around 80 miles north of Seattle.

The sheriff’s office said only the pilot was believed to have been in the two-seat plane. A body was recovered and the pilot’s identification retrieved, it said.

Anders’ son, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Greg Anders, confirmed the death to The Associated Press.


“The family is devastated,” Greg Anders said, according to the news agency. “He was a great pilot and we will miss him terribly.”

Here’s what CBS News reported:

Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders, who snapped one of the most iconic images of the space age — a mesmerizing view of the blue-and-white globe of Earth rising above the moon’s cratered horizon in the deep black of space — died Friday when a small plane he was piloting crashed off the coast of Washington state. He was 90 years old.

His son, Greg Anders, confirmed the death to CBS News, saying that the plane which crashed belonged to his father.

The Federal Aviation Administration told CBS News in a statement that the Beech A45 with only the pilot aboard went down in the waters off Roche Harbor, which is located on San Juan Island, at about 11:40 a.m. local time.

San Juan County Sheriff Eric Peter told CBS News that crews were searching the area, but had not yet recovered a body.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.


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