Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders died Friday in a plane crash near Seattle, Washington.

He was 90 years old.

Authorities said Anders was piloting a Beechcraft plane that crashed into the waters off the San Juan Islands in Washington state.

Video footage captured the plane plummeting into the water.


“90-Year-Old William Anders, a Former NASA Astronaut and Major General with the U.S. Air Force was Killed earlier today after his Beechcraft T-34 ‘Mentor’ Propeller-Driver Trainer Aircraft reportedly Crashed near his Home on Orcas Island in Washington State,” OSINTdefender wrote.

“Anders was a Member of the Apollo 8 Crew during the Moon Mission in December of 1968, and was known for his Picture of Earth from the Surface of the Moon dubbed ‘Earthrise,'” it added.

CBS News reports:

The Federal Aviation Administration told CBS News in a statement that the Beech A45 with only the pilot aboard went down in the waters off Roche Harbor, which is located on San Juan Island, at about 11:40 a.m. local time.

San Juan County Sheriff Eric Peter told CBS News that crews were searching the area, but had not yet recovered a body.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

Anders, who was born in Hong Kong on Oct. 17, 1933, attended the U.S. Naval Academy and the Air Force Institute of Technology before being selected as an astronaut in the NASA space program in 1964, logging more than 6,000 hours flying time, according to his NASA biography.

Along with serving as a lunar module pilot for Apollo 8, he was also a backup pilot on the Gemini XI and Apollo 11 flights.


Per ABC News:

In late 1963, Anders “was among just 14 men chosen by NASA from a pool of thousands of applicants” for the Astronaut Corps, according to the Heritage Flight Museum.

Anders founded the Heritage Flight Museum in 1996 with his wife, Valerie Anders, in Bellingham, Washington.

President Richard Nixon appointed Anders to become executive secretary of the National Aeronautics and Space Council in 1969.

Apollo 8 was Anders’ only space flight.

Nelson added in a statement Saturday, “The voyage Bill took in 1968 was only one of the many remarkable chapters in Bill’s life and service to humanity. In his 26 years of service to our country, Bill was many things – U.S. Air Force officer, astronaut, engineer, ambassador, advisor, and much more.

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