Pilot, passenger rescued from plane that crashed into power lines at Montgomery Co.

Two people who were inside a small plane that crashed into power lines in Montgomery County, Maryland on Sunday night are being treated for injuries Monday morning as the investigation into the collision continues.

First responders work to rescue plane passengers after the small plane crashed and became stuck in live power lines, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Montgomery Village, a northern suburb of Gaithersburg, in Maryland. Both occupants were successfully rescued. (AP Photo/Tom Brenner)

AP/Tom Brenner



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An airplane hangs from a power line near the intersection of Rothbury Drive and Goshen Road in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Photo courtesy Pete Piringer



<p data-recalc-dims=An airplane hangs from a power line near the intersection of Rothbury Drive and Goshen Road in Montgomery County, Maryland. (Photo courtesy of Mark Thiessen)

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An airplane hangs from a power line near the intersection of Rothbury Drive and Goshen Road in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Photo courtesy of Mark Thiessen

APTOPIX Maryland small plane crash

A small plane rests on live power lines after crashing, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Montgomery Village, a northern suburb of Gaithersburg, Md. (AP Photo/Tom Brenner)

AP/Tom Brenner

Small plane crash in Maryland

A small plane rests on live power lines after crashing, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Montgomery Village, a northern suburb of Gaithersburg, Md. (AP Photo/Tom Brenner)

AP/Tom Brenner

Small plane crash in Maryland

First responders work to rescue plane passengers after the small plane crashed and became stuck in live power lines, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Montgomery Village, a northern suburb of Gaithersburg, in Maryland. Both occupants were successfully rescued. (AP Photo/Tom Brenner)

AP/Tom Brenner

Repairs to power lines affected by the plane crash in Montgomery County, Maryland continued Monday morning. (WTOP/Luke Lucert)

OMCP/Luke Lukert

Crews working on power lines in broad daylight Monday morning. (WTOP/Luke Lucert)

OMCP/Luke Lukert

Power lines are still being repaired in Montgomery County. (WTOP/Luke Lucert)

OMCP/Luke Lukert

Two people who were inside a small plane that crashed into power lines in Montgomery County, Maryland on Sunday night are being treated for serious injuries Monday morning as the investigation into the collision continues.

The pilot and his passenger were suspended inside the tangled plane for hours after it crashed in Montgomery Village around 5:30 p.m., authorities said.



At one point overnight, around 85,000 customers of energy company Pepco were left without power. Pepco said on Twitter around 1:30 a.m. that all those who were affected have regained their food.

Before 1 a.m., emergency personnel safely brought the two people trapped inside the suspended plane to the ground, Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said during a briefing. Responders took both occupants of the plane to a trauma center with serious injuries, Goldstein said.

Maryland State Police identified the pilot as Patrick Merkle, 65, of DC, and the passenger as Jan Williams, 66, of Louisiana. The Federal Aviation Administration reported the plane departed Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York, en route to Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg.

Following the multi-hour outage Sunday night, Montgomery County Public Schools closed schools Monday. (Catering services are also not available).

The public school system sent a note to parents stating that the closure is because “staff must assess all buildings for their safety and the readiness of other systems such as heating, water and network connectivity; this work will be done throughout the day.

Montgomery College also closed all of its campuses and locations on Monday.

Goshen Road, near the power lines the plane hit, will be closed “for a while,” Goldstein said, as authorities still need to untangle the plane and restore the power lines.

Listen to the report by John Aaron of the OMCP at the scene of the accident

National Transportation Safety Board and FAA investigators are trying to figure out what happened. There are no signs of criminal activity, according to Maryland State Police.

Rescue those inside the plane

Officials described a laborious rescue lasting several hours.

Before crews could rescue the plane’s occupants, energy company AUI first had to ground any residual electricity remaining in the tower and surrounding crash area.

The energy company completed the process about six hours after the plane crashed, according to Goldstein. The next objective was to completely secure the aircraft’s position on one of the towers so that it would not move during rescue efforts.

Around midnight, firefighters secured the plane and soon after brought the plane’s occupants to the ground, Goldstein said.

Throughout the rescue, Goldstein said rescue teams were in regular contact with the plane’s occupants, who were advised to monitor their cellphone batteries.

FAA records show the plane is owned by Metal Forming and Coining Corporation (MFC), of which Merkle, the pilot, is president.

Interruptions after crash

Pepco confirmed the private plane crashed into company overhead power lines near the intersection of Rothbury Drive and Goshen Road. Power outages following the accident affected tens of thousands of customers in Montgomery County.

Outages, including traffic lights and traffic signals, were reported in the Wheaton, Olney, Gaithersburg areas and as far away as Silver Spring.

Jackie Bensen of WTOP’s press partner NBC4 shared video of power outages on Frederick Road in Gaithersburg on Sunday evening.

Jessica Kronzer, John Aaron and Hugh Garbrick of WTOP contributed to this story.

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