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Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders dies in plane crash at San Juan Islands, video goes viral (WATCH)

William Anders, the Apollo 8 astronaut renowned for the iconic "Earthrise" photo, died at 90 in a plane crash near Washington's San Juan Islands. Piloting a vintage T-34 Mentor jet, the crash was confirmed by his son Greg. Tributes pour in for Anders, celebrated for his pivotal role in space exploration and capturing Earth's beauty.

Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders dies in plane crash at San Juan Islands, video goes viral (WATCH) vkp
First Published Jun 8, 2024, 8:44 AM IST

William Anders, the celebrated Apollo 8 astronaut known for capturing the iconic "Earthrise" photo, died in a plane crash on Friday. He was 90 years old. His son, Greg Anders, confirmed the tragic news to the Associated Press.

Anders was piloting his vintage Air Force T-34 Mentor jet when it plunged into the waters near the San Juan Islands in Washington state. The crash, which occurred before 11:45 AM local time near Orcas Island, has left the space exploration community in shock and sorrow. The United States Coast Guard Pacific Northwest officials reported the incident.

A video of the crash has surfaced on social media, further amplifying the impact of the news. Many have taken to various platforms to pay tribute to the former NASA astronaut.

"RIP to William Anders, one of the astronauts from Apollo 8. He took this famous photo of 'Earthrise' on December 24, 1968," one user wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

"My heart goes out to William Anders's family and friends during this difficult time 💔," another added.

"RIP William Anders. You and your crew showed all of us our whole world for the very first time. What a legendary figure we have just lost," a third user commented.

Greg Anders expressed the family's devastation, stating, "He was a great pilot, and we will miss him terribly."

William Anders is perhaps best remembered for his "Earthrise" photo, taken on December 24, 1968, during the Apollo 8 mission. The image, showing Earth as a shadowed blue marble rising over the lunar surface, had a profound ecological and philosophical impact and is considered one of the most significant contributions to the space program. Anders also played a crucial role in ensuring the functionality of the Apollo 8 command module and service module.

This tragic loss has deeply affected those who admired Anders for his pioneering spirit and contributions to space exploration.

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