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Small plane stuck in power lines in Maryland, no injuries

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GAITHERSBURG, Maryland (AP) — A small plane carrying two people crashed into live power lines Sunday night in Maryland, causing a widespread power outage in the surrounding county as authorities worked to remove the plane and its passengers.

The single-engine plane, which took off from White Plains, New York, struck a power line tower near the Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg around 5:40 p.m. Sunday, and the plane was stuck about 100 feet away, the FAA said in a statement. (30 meters) above the ground. The FAA said two people were on board.

Those on board the plane, identified by Maryland State Police as pilot Patrick Merkel, 65, of Washington, D.C., and passenger Jan Williams, 66, of Louisiana, said Pete Berenger, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Department, on Twitter. They are: unharmed and that rescuers have been in contact with them. He once said in a video message that there were three people on the plane, but later clarified that there were two.

It will take until 9:30 p.m. or later for all resources to be in place to move forward with the rescue effort, Scott Goldstein, Montgomery County Fire Chief, told reporters, but did not give a timeline for when it would take to bring the plane home. passengers after that. lowest.

Goldstein said utility contractors will first ground the high-voltage wires so rescuers can work safely. Then, fire crews use bucket trucks or cranes to stabilize the aircraft by lashing or bolting it to the tower. Once the plane is more stable, Goldstein said, rescuers will use cranes or bucket trucks to lower the two people. He said rescuers call them periodically by cell phone to check on them.

The FAA has designated the aircraft as the Mooney M20J.

The video showed a small white plane placed in front of an electricity pole. A video broadcast by a local TV channel showed that the plane was stuck in the transmission tower after 8:00 p.m.

Transport lines remained alive, Berringer said, complicating rescue efforts.

“Everything is still very active at the moment,” he said.

Pepco reported that about 120,000 customers were without power in Montgomery County. Several traffic lights were also outside the area, Beringer said. The utility said in a statement that its employees are waiting for rescuers to clear the accident scene before they can carry out repairs at the crash site.

The incident occurred in Gaithersburg, a town of 69,000 residents located 39 kilometers northwest of Washington, DC.

The cause of the accident was not immediately known. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate what happened.

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