Russ Francis, a former NFL tight end and owner of the scenic tour business at Lake Placid Airport, was one of two people killed Sunday when a Cessna 177 Cardinal crashed at the end of a runway near the North Elba Athletic Fields.
According to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, the crash just after 4 p.m. Sunday also killed Richard McSpadden, vice president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
The association said in a post on its website that the plane “experienced an emergency after takeoff.
“The airplane attempted to return to the airport but failed to make the runway,” the AOPA said.
Francis was a first-round NFL draft pick of the New England Patriots in 1975. He won a Super Bowl in 1985 with the San Francisco 49ers and was a three-time Pro Bowler. He had 393 receptions for 5,262 yards and 40 touchdowns in 13 seasons.
The AOPA said McSpadden was “a very accomplished pilot, including serving as commander of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds during his military career, and a trusted colleague, friend, son, husband and father.”
New York State Police was at the crash scene, along with forest rangers from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Lake Placid emergency crews.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.