A pilot and passenger who were trapped in a small plane for nearly seven hours after it crashed into power lines in Montgomery County, Maryland, on Sunday have been rescued, the fire service chief said. and Montgomery County Rescue Scott Goldstein on Monday morning.
Both were taken to the hospital with serious injuries, including orthopedic and traumatic injuries from the accident and hypothermia, Goldstein said.
The rescue began at 5:30 pm local time, when crews responded to reports of a small plane that had flown into power lines, according to Pete Piringer, chief spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service.
When units arrived at the scene, they found a small plane suspended about 30 meters in the air after hitting the tower.
The pilot was identified by Maryland State Police as Patrick Merkle, 65, of Washington, DC. The passenger is Jan Williams, 66, of Louisiana, state police said in a press release.
The fire department was in communication with the pilot and passenger during the rescue and nearby roads were closed, according to authorities. The crash scene is about four miles northwest of Montgomery County Airpark, state police said.
Rescue workers had to wait for the tower to be “grounded or turned on” before they could reach the passengers, Goldstein told reporters late on Sunday.
It involved crews going upstairs to put clamps or cables on the wires to ensure there was no static or residual energy, the boss said. The plane also needed to be secured to the tower structure, he said. Fog in the area made things more complicated, he added, affecting visibility.
A utility contractor finished grounding power lines near the plane at 11:30 pm local time, Goldstein said, and the contractor helped rescuers secure the plane for the next 45 minutes.
Rescue workers checked in on the plane’s occupants regularly and moderated their cell phone use to conserve their batteries, Goldstein said.
Crews used a lift platform – or a mechanical elevator – to reach the trapped people, according to photos tweeted by Piringer.
Update (~4a) airplane was removed from tower & placed on ground. Earlier, just after Midnite 2 adult occupants of plane were transported by @MCFRS_EMIHS to area Trauma Center, PEPCO (power utility) assessing & repairing electrical lines, power has been restored to most https://t.co/9Di0UHfP7G pic.twitter.com/FLJvResS3d
— Pete Piringer (@mcfrsPIO) November 28, 2022
The first person was taken off the plane at 12:25 pm and the second about 10 minutes later, Goldstein said.
Around 4am Monday morning, the plane was removed from the tower and placed on the ground, Piringer tweeted.
About 120,000 customers were without power on Sunday night after the crash, but all affected customers had their power restored by Monday morning, according to utility company Pepco, which provides electrical service to about 894 customers. thousand customers in Washington, DC and surrounding Maryland. Montgomery County is north of Washington, DC.
Montgomery County schools will be closed on Monday due to power outages, district officials said Sunday night.
The district previously said more than 40 schools in the Montgomery County public school system and six central offices were without power, affecting services such as maintenance, buses and food service.
Two hospitals, MedStar Montgomery Medical Center and Holy Cross Hospital, operated at limited capacity Sunday night due to the power outage, Goldstein said.
Federal Aviation Administration officials and Maryland State Police officials were on the scene, Goldstein said Sunday night. The FAA placed a restriction on aircraft during rescue efforts, state police said.
The FAA told the CNN that the plane is a single-engine Mooney, which departed from Westchester County Airport in New York. The agency will investigate the incident with the National Transportation Safety Board.
William Smouse, who lives about a kilometer from where the accident took place, told the CNN WJLA on Sunday night as he was leaving for dinner with his son when he saw “two big flashes” and several fire engines passing by.
Smouse said the incident was “pretty scary” and his home is located in an area where planes and jets often pass.
“I think about that a lot, where they come in and they’re literally 200 or 300 feet above us,” he said.
*Tina Burnside and Holly Yan from CNN contributed to this article.
Source: CNN Brasil
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