Former 49er tight end dies in plane crash

The 70-year-old Super Bowl champion was flying out of Lake Placid Airport in New York ahead of the crash.

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.
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