Heroic rescue of 2 people from a small plane in an electrical tower

Goldstein did not specify which of the two men, identified by Maryland State Police as pilot Patrick Merkle, 65, of Washington, DC, and passenger Jan Williams, 66, of Louisiana, was rescued first. The plane had become stuck in the tower about 100 feet (30 meters) up.

The two suffered “serious injuries” from the crash and hypothermia, the fire marshal said. Both were taken to local trauma centers with non-life-threatening injuries, he added.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA, for its acronym in English) had said earlier in a statement that the single-engine aircraft, which had departed from White Plains, New York, struck power lines near the Montgomery County Airfield in Gaithersburg around 5:40 p.m. The FAA indicated that it is a Mooney M20J with two people on board.

Pete Piringer, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, said on Twitter that rescuers had been in contact with the occupants during the rescue process. At one point he pointed out in a video message that there were three people on the ship, but later clarified that there were two.

Several electricians first worked on the power lines so that rescuers could operate safely, Goldstein explained.

Power company Pepco reported that some 120,000 customers were still without power in Montgomery. At the time of the rescue, service had been restored to most of the county, apart from the accident area. Goldstein noted that the next steps would be to secure the plane, remove it, and then reattach the cables and reconnect them.

County authorities suspended classes Monday, Piringer said.

Gaithersburg is a city of 69,000 about 24 miles (39 kilometers) northwest of Washington, DC

The cause of the crash was unknown. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate what happened.

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