- The incident is said to have taken place at the Lake Placid Airport in New York
- Francis enjoyed two spells with the Patriots as well as a five-year stint with 49ers
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
Former New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers tight end Russ Francis has reportedly been killed alongside a pilot in a plane crash.
The incident took place at around 4pm on Sunday at the Lake Placid Airport in Upstate New York, according to Lake Placid News.
New York State Police, the Saranac Lake Volunteer Rescue Squad, the Department of Environmental Conservation forest rangers and emergency services in the area are said to have responded.
However, Francis is said to have been killed in the crash along with Pilots Association’s Senior Vice President Richard McSpadden.
The report claims the ex-NFL star had recently purchased the Lake Placid Airways scenic tour business.
Former New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers tight end Russ Francis has been killed alongside a pilot in a plane crash, according to reports
Francis, 70, played for the Patriots from 1975 until 1980, and again from 1987 through 1989.
In between those two stints in New England, he played in San Francisco from 1982 until 1987, winning Super Bowl XIX against the Miami Dolphins.
He was also a second-team All-Pro twice in his career, a first-round draft pick and a three-time Pro Bowl selection.
Francis had purchased Lake Placid Airways alongside Rives Potts, 74, before the crash took place on Sunday.
The Patriots icon was a huge flying fan, with his son’s mother Kate Naiman paying tribute to him on Facebook.
‘I am shattered to share that my son’s father, NFL great Russ Francis, passed away, along with a friend, in a plane crash Sunday afternoon,’ the post reads. ‘One of the hardest things I’ve ever done was to choke those words out to Michael.
‘Sending aloha to Russ’s partner Jaxie, to Michael’s sister Rachel and brother Riley, to Russ’s sister, Pixie, and brothers Bill and Uncle. My heart aches for all of you.
Francis, pictured playing for the 49ers, and Pilots Association’s Senior Vice President Richard McSpadden were reportedly killed in the crash in Upstate New York
‘To Russ, flying was like breathing…it came naturally and he lived for it. He used to fly his P-51 Mustang to practice and land in the stadium parking lot and really piss off Bill Walsh. There will be some comfort down the road in knowing that he died doing the thing he loved most, but not today. Not today.’
Dozens of emergency personnel were at the scene of the crash as the plane laid sideways at the bottom of an embankment at the end of the runway.
New York State Police Troop B spokeswoman Brandi Ashley says they are now investigating a small private plane crash at the airport.