Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders, who took ‘Earthrise’ photo, dead in plane crash

Retired astronaut William Anders, who was one of the first three humans to orbit the moon, capturing the famed “Earthrise” photo during NASA’s Apollo 8 mission in 1968, died on Friday in the crash of a small airplane in Washington state. He was 90.
NASA chief Bill Nelson paid tribute to Anders on social media with a post of the iconic image of Earth rising over the lunar horizon, saying the former Air Force pilot “offered to humanity among the deepest of gifts an astronaut can give.”
The Heritage Flight Museum near Burlington, Washington, which he co-founded, confirmed that Anders was killed in an aircraft accident.
Anders was piloting the plane alone when it went down off the coast of Jones Island, part of the San Juan Islands archipelago north of Seattle, between Washington and Vancouver Island, British Columbia, The Seattle Times reported, citing his son, Greg.
According to television station KCPQ-TV, a Fox affiliate in Tacoma, Anders, a resident of San Juan County, was at the controls of a vintage Air Force single-engine T-34 Mentor that he owned.
Video footage showed on KCPQ showed a plane plunging from the skies in a steep dive before slamming into the water just offshore.
A U.S. Naval Academy graduate and Air Force pilot, Anders joined NASA in 1963 as a member of the third group of astronauts. He did not go into space until Dec. 21, 1968, when Apollo 8 lifted off on the first crewed mission to leave Earth orbit and travel 240,000 miles (386,000 km) to the moon.

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