Former NFL tight end Russ Francis, who played for the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers, was killed in a plane crash in Lake Placid, New York.
Francis, 70, was flying in a Cessna 177 aircraft with Richard McSpadden, 63, when the plane experienced a problem shortly after takeoff from Lake Placid Airport.
Driving the news: The plane crashed into an embankment at the corner of the airport, resulting in the fatalities of both individuals. Russ Francis was the president of Lake Placid Airways, a charter and scenic flights company.
- He was an experienced pilot with nearly 50 years of flying experience and had previously run a charter service in Hawaii.
- Richard McSpadden was a senior vice president at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and had a distinguished career, including serving as commander of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.
- Russ Francis had a successful career in the NFL, playing for the New England Patriots from 1975 to 1980 and the San Francisco 49ers in 1982.
- He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and was part of the 1984 49ers team that won the Super Bowl.
- Patriots owner Robert Kraft expressed his condolences, describing Francis as a fan favorite and praising his dynamic playing style on the field and his larger-than-life personality off it.
- Over the course of his career, Francis accumulated 393 receptions for 5,262 yards and scored 40 touchdowns.
- The National Transportation Safety Board will be conducting an investigation into the crash.