Three-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion Russ Francis was one of two people who died in a plane crash over the weekend in New York.
A federal investigator said Tuesday the plane’s engine lost power shortly after takeoff, leading to the crash.
The plane then turned around in an attempt to land safely, but National Transportation Safety Board investigator Todd Gunther said the plane hit a berm at the end of a runway and fell about 30 feet into a ravine.
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Gunther said the investigative team will be working in Lake Placid until Friday to gather material for a preliminary report on the crash. A subsequent final factual report will include analysis and a probable cause for the crash.
Francis’ plane was one of two slated to fly for a scenic photo shoot in the Adirondack Mountains.
The former New England Patriots tight end was the organization’s first-round pick in 1975 and played for the team until 1980. He was a Pro Bowler for three straight seasons between 1977-1979 and won the 1983 Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers.
He returned to New England in 1987 and retired the year after.
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“Russ was a fan favorite throughout his playing career,” Patriots team owner Robert Kraft said in a statement. “He was a dynamic player on the field who had an even bigger personality off it. He knew no boundaries, pushed the limits and lived his life to the fullest.”
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Francis was the president of Lake Placid Airways, which runs charter and scenic flights in upstate New York. He had been a pilot for nearly 50 years and had run a charter service in Hawaii, according to the airline’s website.
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos and The Associated Press contributed to this report.