June 8, 2024

Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders killed in plane crash

One of America's brave pioneers has sadly passed away.

Retired Major General William Anders, the former Apollo 8 astronaut known for his iconic photography, was killed on June 7 when the plane he was piloting fell out of the sky in Washington state.

Anders was 90 years old.

The news was confirmed by his son, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Greg Anders.

"The family is devastated," Greg Anders told the Associated Press. "He was a great pilot, and we will miss him terribly."

Anders was alone piloting his plane when it crashed, and no other injuries have been reported as of now.

Perhaps the thing that Anders was most famous for was his incredible "earthrise" photo, which showed America from space way back in 1968.

Anders had spoken about the photograph in the past:

"We’d been going backwards and upside down, didn’t really see the Earth or the Sun, and when we rolled around and came around and saw the first Earthrise," he said. "That certainly was, by far, the most impressive thing. To see this very delicate, colorful orb, which to me looked like a Christmas tree ornament coming up over this very stark, ugly lunar landscape, really contrasted."

Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona, who is also a retired NASA astronaut, wrote on social media that "Bill Anders forever changed our perspective of our planet and ourselves with his famous Earthrise photo on Apollo 8. He inspired me and generations of astronauts and explorers. My thoughts are with his family and friends."

The National Transportation Safety board and Federal Aviation Administration are both currently investigating the crash.

A report came in at around 11:40 a.m. that a plane had crashed into the water and had sunk near Jones Island, according to San Juan County Sheriff Eric Peter.

They confirmed that only the pilot was on board the Beech A45 airplane at the time, according to information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration.

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