Video shows fiery small plane crash into WA waters near Orcas Island

A former astronaut who was part of the Apollo 8 crew reportedly died as he piloted a plane that crashed into Puget Sound near Orcas Island on Friday.

Officials with the United States Coast Guard Pacific Northwest said the crash happened near Orcas Island before 11:45 a.m.

The Associated Press confirmed that Andrers died in the crash, according to his son, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Greg Anders. "The family is devastated," Greg Anders said. "He was a great pilot and we will miss him terribly."

The San Juan County Sheriff's Office said the plane was an older model aircraft that was flying north to south when it went down into the water and sunk.

Phillip Person captured video of the crash and shared it with FOX 13 Seattle. The video shows a plane coming down and skimming the surface of Puget Sound before flames erupted.

Using flight data and FAA records, FOX 13 Seattle confirmed that the plane that crashed was a viPntage Air Force T-34 Mentor belonging to Apollo 8 astronaut and San Juan County resident William "Bill" Anders. Multiple social media posts and messages from Anders' friends since the crash happened said Anders was at the controls when the plane went down.

image of plane similar to one that crashed

This is an image of a Beech T-34A Mentor at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Station Bellingham, Air Station Port Angeles, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Coast Guard have responded to this crash.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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