De Vries was traveling in a single-engine Cessna 172 when it crashed under unknown circumstances in a heavily wooded area near Hampton Township, New Jersey, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.
After his return to Earth, de Vries told The Guardian the experience “was more beautiful and more dazzling and more frightening than I ever imagined.”
The trip also impressed upon him the fragility of life on Earth, he told his alma mater Carnegie Melon University in an interview.
“There’s such a stark contrast between Earth and space and that line where we all live in between is frighteningly small,” he said. “I know climate change is a huge problem, but the view made strikingly clear: If we really want Earth to be beautiful the way that we as humans can live on it and enjoy it, we need to start thinking about preserving the environment urgently.”
“We are devastated to hear of the sudden passing of Glen de Vries,” the company said. “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.”