Former Apollo 8 Astronaut William Anders Dead at 90 After Plane Crash in Washington

Retired Maj

Published Time: 08.06.2024 - 04:31:18 Modified Time: 08.06.2024 - 04:31:18

Retired Maj. Gen. William Anders, the former Apollo 8 astronaut, was killed on Friday, June 7, after the plane he was flying crashed into the ocean off the San Juan Islands in Washington state. He was 90.

His son, Greg Anders, confirmed the death to The Associated Press. The late astronaut is also known for taking the 1968 “Earthrise” image of the planet shadowed by space.

“The family is devastated,” Greg said. “He was a great pilot and we will miss him terribly.” He also confirmed the loss to The New York Times.

The FAA shared in a statement with PEOPLE that only a pilot was on board a Beechcraft T-34 Mentor plane, that "crashed into the water near Roche Harbor, Washington, around 11:40 a.m. local time Friday, June 7."

The U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Northwest confirmed the incident on X (formerly Twitter), and w -

rote, "#BREAKING: @USCG units along with San Juan County Sheriffs are responding to reports of a plane crash between Orcas and Jones Island. Air Station Port Angeles and Station Port Angeles are on-scene conducting search and rescue efforts. Updates to follow."

PEOPLE reached out to the U.S. Coast Guard for comment.

The late astronaut previously stated that the "Earthrise" image was his most significant contribution to the space program, as well as ensuring the Apollo 8 command module and service module worked.

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The National Transportation Safety Board and FAA are investigating the crash.

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