Apollo 8 Astronaut William Anders, Killed In Plane Crash

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

WASHINGTON (Worthy News) – Retired Major General William Anders, one of the first three people to have traveled to the Moon when he snapped an iconic picture of Earth, has been killed in a small plane crash, his family and officials said Saturday. He was 90 years old.

His son confirmed that the former Apollo 8 astronaut had been piloting a small plane that went off the coast of Washington state on Friday morning. “The family is devastated,” his son Greg Anders said. “He was a great pilot, and we will miss him terribly.”

Anders was alone when flying his vintage Beechcraft T-34 Mentor over the San Juan Islands when it crashed.

A witness told the local KING-TV network monitored by Worthy News that he and his wife first thought it was an airshow as the aircraft “went into a barrel roll, sort of a loop. It was inverted and went into this barrel roll loop thing.”

However, “the pilot tried to pull up before it hit the water. But it was too low, and it started to loop, and it didn’t clear the water. It looked like it clipped a wing at first and went down very hard, burst into flames, broke apart, and instantly went underwater.”

His body was later recovered by a dive team, a Coast Guard spokesperson said.

CIRCLING MOON

He will be remembered as a member of the Apollo 8 mission in December 1968, when he became one of the first humans to orbit the Moon, along with fellow Americans Frank Borman and James Lovell.

The crew circled the Moon 10 times without landing before successfully returning to Earth on December 27, 1968.

Anders captured a photo of the bright blue Earth against the vast darkness of space on one of the lunar orbits, with the Moon’s cratered surface in the foreground.

During a telecast on Christmas Eve 1968, the Apollo 8 crew read verses from the first chapter of Genesis and wished viewers, “Good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you – all of you on the good Earth.”

It inspired him to keep flying even at an advanced age till his final flight ended a life that inspired generations of astronauts.

Copyright 1999-2024 Worthy News. This article was originally published on Worthy News and was reproduced with permission.


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