HAMPTON TOWNSHIP — The plane carrying Blue Origin astronaut Glen de Vries and his flight instructor Thomas Fischer that crashed Nov. 11 had no mechanical problems when it crashed in a wooded area of Sussex County, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

Glen de Vries, 49, of Manhattan, and Thomas P. Fischer, 54, of Hopatcong, died in the crash near Kemwah Lake in Hampton Township after the Cessna 172 went missing on a flight from Essex County Airport to Sussex County Airport.

Fischer, the owner and chief flight instructor of Fischer Aviation, was Devries' flight instructor. de Vries began his lessons in 2016, according to a post on the Fischer Aviation Facebook page. He was on board the Blue Origin flight into space in October with Star Trek star William Shatner.

The NTSB's preliminary report determined the plane reached an altitude of 6,400 feet and went into a steep descending left turn that continued until the flight track data was lost. There were no fires or explosions on board the small plane and the major components of the plane were recovered from the crash scene.

The trees surrounding the crash scene showed fresh cuts made from the propeller which remained attached to the plane's crankshaft, according to the report.

The fuselage was crushed but the wings were partially attached, according to the report. The instrument panel and cockpit were destroyed by impact forces.The engine did not have any mechanical malfunctions or issues that would have caused the plane to have problems in flight.

The NTSB's investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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