Apollo 8 Astronaut Has Died at 90

Apollo 8 Astronaut Has Died at 90

(RepublicanView.org) – Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders has died in a plane crash in Washington. The 90-year-old crashed his single-engine propeller Beechcraft T-34 Mentor near Puget Sound on the Evergreen State’s northwest coast. Bystander Phillip Person witnessed the accident and caught it on camera. Person said the plane went into “sort of a loop” and then attempted to pull back up before smacking against the water. When it hit a lake’s surface, the aircraft broke apart and burst into flames before quickly disappearing below the water. “I could not believe what I was seeing,” Person said.

The Federal Aviation Authority and the National Transportation Safety Board will jointly investigate the accident, recover debris, and examine tracking data and communications recordings.

Mr. Anders’ son, Air Force Lt. Col. Greg Anders, said, “The family is devastated. He was a great pilot, and we will miss him terribly.”

Anders, known as Bill, was among the first astronauts to orbit the moon on Apollo 8. He took a famous photo of Earth from space that later became known as Earthrise. He commented that seeing the planet from such a distance alerted him to its fragility and caused him to see it in a new light. Anders remarked that our planet looks like a “small blue-green sphere about the size of a Christmas tree ornament” and should be treated with comparable tenderness.

Born in Hong Kong in 1933, Mr. Anders was the son of United States Navy lieutenant Arthur F. Anders and his wife Muriel. When the Sino-Japanese war erupted in 1937, Anders and his mother lived in Nanjing, China, from where they fled as Japanese forces advanced. He spent much of his childhood moving around military bases and eventually followed his father into the military, joining the US Air Force in 1955.

In 1955, Mr. Anders married Valerie Elizabeth Hoard while stationed in Annapolis, Maryland, and the couple had six children. After retiring from the military, Anders worked with the National Space Council before becoming the US Ambassador to Norway in 1969.

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