NTSB Cites Pilot Error for 2011 Z Islander Apartments Plane Crash

BRYAN, Texas It's been nearly three years since a fatal Memorial Day weekend plane crash at the Z Islander Apartments in Bryan and we are just now learning what caused it.

A North Texas couple died when they were attempting to make an Emergency Landing at Easterwood Airport and crashed just two miles from the runway into a parking lot.

The National Transportation Safety Board's Final Report was released earlier this month.

It details why the plane crashed and that in the agency's opinion, the pilot should not have been flying.

Pilot error is being blamed for a horrific site back on Memorial Day weekend 2011 when a Rockwell 112 single engine plane came crashing to the ground at the Z Islander Apartments on Wellborn Road in Bryan.

"They went down trying to make Easterwood," said Matt Puckett, who heard the distress call then on May 28th, 2011.

The pilot 57-year-old John Holmstrom of Cedar Hill near Dallas and his wife Katherine Ruth died in the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board says the pilot ran out of gas during the flight from Fort Worth Spinks Airport to Galveston and he didn't refuel the plane after two recent flights.

Matt Puckett was a member of the Texas A&M Flying Club at the time of the crash and spoke with us then about hearing the distress call while in another plane.

"We were coming in to the tower and the tower asked us to hold off 'cause we heard the radio call some people had ran out of gas and the next thing we know there wasn't anymore radio call," said Puckett on May 28th, 2011.

Besides not properly managing fuel for the flight the NTSB's report also says the pilot had been battling depression and anxiety since 1989 and was on depression medication that would have restricted him from flying.

The report said, "Contributing to the accident was the pilot's impaired judgment, which led to his failure to recognize the fuel shortage earlier and his improper decision to fly with disqualifying medical conditions."

Prior to the crash Holmstrom had more than 460 hours of flying experience.

No one else on the ground was injured.

News 3 was not able to reach the NTSB for comment Monday but we have their full reports on the crash attached to this story in the related links section.

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