Lake Placid, NY- The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on the October 1 plane crash in Lake Placid that killed two people in early October.
According to the report, two planes took off from Lake Placid Airport, including a Cessna with two people aboard: Russ Francis, 70, a former tight end for the Patriots, and Richard McSpadden, 63, a senior vice president at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
The second plane , which was to photograph the Cessna for a magazine publication, took off first, and the Cessna followed about 700 feet behind.
According to the report, witnesses told investigators say that while taxiing out to the runway, the Cessna’s engine shut off for about 10 seconds before restarting. The witnesses said the plane’s engine sounded set for “climb” rather than “takeoff”, and it continued to sound underpowered as the plane took off.
“During the initial climb, the witness further described that the engine did not sound like it was running at full power,” the report said.
The plane took a gentle left turn while roughly 300-400 feet in the air, and then took a hard right turn back towards the airport, at which point a passenger in the plane radioed, “We have a problem and we’re returning to the airport.”
The plane then crashed into an embankment below the airport and then slid about 30 feet down the hill, according to the report.
The NTSB’s report goes on to describe the plane’s maintenance history, saying the plane had logged 36.7 flight hours since the engine last underwent a “major overhaul”. No blockages were found in the fuel system, and no water contamination was found in the fuel.
The report then catalogs parts of the engine recovered from the wreck with observations about their condition and says the wreckage was kept for further examination.
The NTSB’s investigation is still in the early stages, and it could be months until any definitive cause of the crash is determined.