GAITHERSBURG, Md. –
A small plane carrying two people got stuck on a live power line Sunday night in Maryland, causing widespread power outages in the surrounding county as officials struggled to rescue the plane and its passengers. guests on it.
The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that the single-engine plane left White Plains, New York, and crashed into a power line near Montgomery County Airport in Gaithersburg around 5:40 p.m. Sunday. The FAA said there were two people on board.
Pete Piringer, chief spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Department, say on Twitter that those on board, identified by Maryland State Police as pilot Patrick Merkle, 65, of Washington, D.C., and passenger Jan Williams, 66, of Louisiana, were uninjured and rescuers contacted surname. He at one point said in a video message that there were three people on the plane but later clarified that it was two.
Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein told reporters that it would not be until 9:30 p.m. or later that all resources would be available to launch rescue efforts, but he did not provide a timetable for How long will it take to bring the people on the plane? down.
Goldstein said that utility contractors will first work to ground the high-voltage wires to ensure the safety of rescuers working. Fire crews would then use bucket trucks or cranes to stabilize the plane by chaining or tying it to the tower. Goldstein said after the plane stabilizes, rescuers will use a crane or a bucket truck to bring the two people down. He said rescuers are periodically contacting them by cell phone to check on them.
The FAA has identified the aircraft as a Mooney M20J.
The video shows a small white plane nosed near a power tower. Live video from a local TV station shows the plane still stuck in the transmission tower after 8pm
Mr Piringer said the plane was stuck about 100 feet (30 meters) above the ground and power transmission lines were still functioning, further complicating rescue efforts.
“Things still have energy at this point,” he said.
Electric utility Pepco reported that about 80,000 customers lost power in Montgomery County. Piringer said that many traffic lights were also turned off in the area. The company said in a statement that its employees are waiting for emergency services to bring them to the scene before they can make repairs at the crash site.
The accident happened in Gaithersburg, a city of 69,000 people about 24 miles (39 km) northwest of Washington, DC.
The cause of the crash was not immediately clear. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate what happened.