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US moon mission astronaut killed in plane crash (VIDEO)

The 90-year-old veteran pilot’s aircraft could be seen pulling out of a dive too late to avoid hitting the water below

William Anders, an astronaut on the first lunar orbit mission, has died when the plane he was piloting crashed off the San Juan Islands in Washington state on Friday.

“The family is devastated. He was a great pilot and we will miss him terribly,” retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Greg Anders told AP, confirming the death of his father.

In video circulating on social media, the plane can be seen coming out of a loop and impacting the water before bursting into flames.

US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records and flight data confirm the 90-year-old’s vintage Air Force T-34 Mentor airplane crashed, FOX 13 Seattle wrote on Friday. The FAA told the New York Post that the pilot was the only person aboard the plane.

BREAKING: Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders’ plane crashes northwest of Seattle. Search and rescue underway pic.twitter.com/f0tCZ6rMLh

— BNO News (@BNONews) June 7, 2024

The US Coast Guard Pacific Northwest stated on Friday that they responded to reports of a plane going down sometime before 11:45am between Orcas and Jones Island. They are conducting search and rescue efforts alongside San Juan County Sheriffs Office, Air Station Bellingham and Air Station Port Angeles, the agency wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday.

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Retired Major General Anders was the photographer behind the iconic “Earthrise” shot of the Planet Earth in the background of the lunar landscape, taken while on the US Apollo 8 lunar orbit mission in 1968.

Born in 1933 in Hong Kong, Anders grew up in Sand Diego. Having achieved his Master of Science degree in nuclear engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1962, part of his duties on the Apollo 8 involved radiation shielding, measuring radiation levels and the environmental control system. He was the command module pilot for the Apollo 8 mission.


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