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William Anders, Apollo 8 Astronaut Who Took Iconic ‘Earthrise’ Photo, Killed in Plane Crash

Apollo 8 astronaut and San Juan County resident William Anders, 90, was killed in a plane crash over Puget Sound in Washington on Friday afternoon, and the incident was caught on video.

Fox 13 reported that the plane — a viPntage Air Force T-34 Mentor, a small prop plane — belonged to Anders and that his friends said he was flying the plane when it crashed.

Video showed the plane smacking the water at a high rate of speed as he appeared to be trying to pull up. A large flame briefly erupted with a plume of black smoke.

“A Beechcraft T-34 Mentor crashed into the water near Roche Harbor, Washington, around 11:40 a.m. local time Friday, June 7. Only the pilot was on board,” the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement.

“The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate,” the statement added.

His son, Greg Anders, said in a statement: “The family is devastated. He was a great pilot. He will be missed.”


The United States Coast Guard Northwest said that the crash happened between Orcas Island and Jones Island.

The New York Times reported that Anders flew on the first manned space mission to orbit the moon in 1968 and took the iconic “Earthrise” photo, which the newspaper said sparked “the modern environmental movement.”

During Apollo 8’s orbit around the moon on Christmas Eve, the crew read from the book of Genesis in a live telecast that was viewed by millions of people around the world.

The report noted that Anders was the first person in that telecast to read from scripture.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the Earth,” he said while reading Genesis. “And the Earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”

  • JD says:

    Gone West. RIP Airman

  • Rudog says:

    yeh… weeellll…def. would be missed, too…solo piloting?….90.??. t-34’s a 2 seater…r I p ole’ ‘naut!!!

  • TD says:

    He went out doing what he liked to do, 90 years old, I know right now already I could not fly an airplane if I was a pilot and 90 years old

  • Barb N says:

    God bless and keep his soul.



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