Lake Placid Plane Crash: Ex-NFL Player Russ Francis among 2 Fatalities

In Lake Placid, New York, former NFL tight end Russ Francis, who had a successful career with the New England Patriots and won a Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers in 1984, tragically lost his life in a plane crash. The incident occurred shortly after takeoff from the Lake Placid Airport, where Russ Francis, aged 70, and fellow aviation enthusiast Richard McSpadden, aged 63, were flying in a small single-engine Cessna 177. The plane encountered difficulties and crashed into an embankment at the airport corner, leading to their untimely deaths.

Lake Placid Plane Crash: Ex-NFL Player Russ Francis among 2 Fatalities

Russ Francis was not only a football star but also the president of Lake Placid Airways, a company offering charter and scenic flights. He had a deep passion for flying, having been a pilot for almost half a century and previously running a charter service in Hawaii. Richard McSpadden, on the other hand, was a senior vice president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and was well-respected in the field of aviation safety. His career even included serving as the commander of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

Russ Francis had a successful football career, starting with the New England Patriots in 1975 as a first-round draft pick and playing for the team until 1980. He was a key player, earning Pro Bowl selections for three consecutive seasons from 1977 to 1979 and making it onto the franchise’s all-decade team for the 1970s as well as the 35th-anniversary team. Patriots owner Robert Kraft remembered him as a beloved player who not only excelled on the field but also had a larger-than-life personality off it.

After his time with the Patriots, Russ Francis joined the San Francisco 49ers in 1982 and was part of the team that triumphed in the 1984 Super Bowl against Miami. He later returned to New England in 1987 before retiring a year later. Throughout his career, he achieved impressive statistics with 393 receptions, 5,262 yards, and 40 touchdowns.

The National Transportation Safety Board is currently conducting an investigation into the crash to determine its cause.

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