The Mayan Day | international

A small plane carrying two people got stuck on live power lines Sunday night in Maryland, United States, causing widespread power outages in the surrounding county as officials worked to remove the aircraft and its occupants.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that the single-engine plane, which had taken off from White Plains, New York, crashed into a power line pylon near the Montgomery County Air Park in Gaithersburg around 5:40 p.m. Sunday and the plane got stuck at about 100 feet. (30 meters) above the ground. The FAA said there were two people on board.

Pete Piringer, chief spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, said on Twitter that the people on board, identified by Maryland State Police as pilot Patrick Merkle, 65, of Washington, DC, and passenger Jan Williams, 66, of Louisiana, are uninjured and that rescuers had been in contact with them.

Photo: Ap

Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said utility contractors will first work to ground power lines to make it safe for rescuers to work.

Fire crews will then use bucket trucks or a crane to stabilize the aircraft by chaining or lashing it to the tower. Once the plane is more stable, Goldstein said, rescuers will use the crane or bucket trucks to bring the two people down. He said rescuers periodically contact them by cell phone to check on them.

The FAA identified the plane as a Mooney M20J.

The video showed a small white plane positioned nose up near a power pylon. Live video from a local television station showed the plane remained stuck in the transmission tower after 8 p.m.

Transmission lines remained live, complicating rescue efforts, Piringer said.

“Everything is still energized right now,” he said.

Utility company Pepco reported that about 120,000 customers were without power in Montgomery County. Piringer said many traffic lights were also out in the area. The utility company said in a statement that its staff were waiting for rescuers to clear them to enter the scene before they can make repairs at the crash site.

The accident took place in Gaithersburg, a city of 69,000 about 24 miles (39 kilometers) 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.

Editing: Estefania Cardeña

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