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Two people aboard plane that flew into live power lines
Featured Image Credit: @mcfrsPIO/Twitter

Two people aboard plane that flew into live power lines

Crews had to cut power to the tower before a rescue mission could begin

Two people were on board a plane that was left dangling 100 feet in the air after flying into live power lines in Maryland.

Rescue workers responded to the scene after the crash took place at approximately 6:15pm local time in the Montgomery Village section of Gaithersburg.

The collision caused approximately 85,000 people to lose power, with crews forced to deenergise the tower and ground it to ensure there was no energy running through the lines as the rescue mission got underway.

News of the crash was confirmed in a statement by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which also confirmed the number of people on board.

"A single-engine Mooney M20J crashed into wires near Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg, Md., around 5:40pm local time today," the statement read.

The FAA confirmed the crash in a statement.

"Two people were on board. The aircraft departed from Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y."

A dense fog which settled in the area further complicated rescue efforts, but responders managed to free both the pilot and the passenger of the small aircraft in the early hours of this morning (28 November).

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Chief Scott Goldstein explained that crews put clamps or cables onto the wires to get rid of any static electricity or residual power in the lines. The fire department remained in communication with the pilot and passenger during the efforts.

Maryland State Police announced in a news release that the pilot was identified as 65-year-old Patrick Merkle, of Washington, DC. The passenger was 66-year-old Jan Williams of Louisiana.

The two people on board were pulled from the wreckage nearly seven hours after the crash and taken to a hospital to be treated for serious injuries, including orthopedic and trauma injuries from the crash and hypothermia.

Those on board the plane were rescued after about 7 hours.

William Smouse, a resident in the area, told CNN affiliate WJLA he was going out to dinner with his son when he saw 'two big flashes' and then multiple fire engines driving by as they responded to the crash.

Pepco announced that power had been restored to all impacted customers approximately six hours after the crash, though Montgomery County Public Schools announced that all schools and offices would be closed today as a result of the 'widespread power outage and its impact on safety and school operations'.

The FAA said in its statement that it will investigate the incident alongside the National Transportation Safety Board, which will be in charge of the investigation.

Topics: US News