US Moon Mission Astronaut Dies in Plane Crash off San Juan Islands

US Moon Mission Astronaut Dies in Plane Crash off San Juan Islands

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – William Anders, a famed astronaut from the first lunar orbit mission, died when his plane 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 a video circulating on social media, the plane is seen coming out of a loop before crashing into the water and bursting into flames.

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

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

Retired Major General Anders was the photographer behind the iconic "Earthrise" shot of Earth against the lunar landscape, taken during the US Apollo 8 lunar orbit mission in 1968.

Born in 1933 in Hong Kong, Anders grew up in San Diego. He earned a Master of Science degree in nuclear engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1962. His duties on Apollo 8 included radiation shielding, measuring radiation levels, and managing the environmental control system. Anders was the command module pilot for the Apollo 8 mission.

Most Visited in World
Top World stories
Top Stories