Final report released on fatal crash at Reno airport

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The National Transportation Safety Board has released its final report on the September 11, 2016 crash of a small airplane in a parking lot at Reno-Tahoe International Airport.

The crash killed Ronnie Hernandez, 34, a prisoner being taken back to California; she was restrained in the Piper Cherokee’s rear seat by a lap belt. Her legs were cuffed by leg irons and her hands were cuffed to her waist through a belly chain, according to the NTSB.

Ed Mumbert, 46, of Santa Cruz, Calif., was the bail bondsman taking Herandez back to California and was in the right front seat. Robert Drescher, 57, of Half Moon Bay, California was the pilot flying to San Carlos Airport in San Carlos, California. They were also killed.

The final report found Drescher "fueled the airplane almost to capacity before he definitively established the total weight of all occupants for the accident flight." The report also says the pilot added more fuel than originally requested. That put the airplane at 178 pounds over its maximum gross weight and loaded "at or just beyond its aft center of gravity limit."

Drescher's comments to the base operator personnel suggested he was concerned about the plane being overweight. Drescher could have off-loaded some of the fuel to reduce his weight, but that he "felt pressured to proceed with the flight as planned in order to return the passenger to
California that evening."

As the pilot made his initial climb, he lost control and the aircraft plunged into a surface parking lot, damaging cars.

The report also found Drescher had used three opioid drugs and that "Although medical records indicated that the pilot had at one point been prescribed one opioid (oxycodone) and carisoprodol, the nearly simultaneous use of three separate opioids strongly suggests that he was misusing these substances."