[Source: CBS News]
A small plane crashed into power lines in Maryland, leaving two people dangling about 100 feet in the air, officials said. The crash knocked out power to thousands of people in the area.
A single-engine Mooney M20J crashed into wires near Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg, Maryland, around 5:40 p.m. local time Sunday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The plane appeared to be intact as it was caught in a web of power lines about 100 feet in the air.
Maryland State Police identified the occupants of the plane as pilot Patrick Merkle, 65, of Washington, D.C., and passenger Jan Williams, 66, of Louisiana.
As of roughly 7:50 p.m., Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson Pete Piringer said the people aboard the plane were uninured. Earlier he said that they remained in a “very precarious situation,” as the wires were still energized. Utility company Pepco said that as of around 8:30 p.m. the lines had been de-energized.
The crash led to “widespread power outages” and road closures nearby, officials said.
Pepco confirmed that the crash affected approximately 85,000 customers and said they are working with authorities to assess the damage.
“We have confirmed that a private plane came into contact with Pepco’s transmission lines in Montgomery County, resulting in an outage to approximately 85,000 customers,” the utility company tweeted. “We are assessing damage and working closely with Montgomery County fire and emergency services.”
The crash will be investigated by the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board, with the NTSB leading the investigation and providing additional updates, the FAA said in a statement.