Apollo 8 astronaut, 90, dies in plane crash


William Anders, the former American astronaut who took the historic “Earthrise” photo from space more than 55 years ago, died on Friday at the age of 90 in a plane crash.

Anders was at the controls of the light plane when it crashed on the coast of Washington state on Friday morning, his son told US media. Anders was alone in the plane.

Sheriff Eric Peter told AFP that crews were combing the area but had not yet found Anders’ body.

Anders, a member of the Apollo 8 mission in December 1968, became one of the first people to reach the moon, along with fellow Americans Frank Borman and James Lovell.

The crew orbited the moon ten times without landing, before successfully returning to Earth on December 27, 1968.

Anders’ “Earthrise” photo is included in Life Magazine’s book 100 Photographs that Changed The World.

An original version of the photo was sold at a Copenhagen auction in 2022 for €11,800.

Anders was born on October 17, 1933 in Hong Kong and graduated from the US Naval Academy and later obtained a master’s degree in nuclear engineering.

After his time as an astronaut, Anders held several technology-related government positions, and later served as the US ambassador to Norway.

Of the Apollo 8 members, only Lovell is still alive. Borman died in November 2023 at the age of 95.

Lovell (96) was also a member of the almost catastrophic Apollo 13 mission that was intended to land on the moon.