Two people are trapped inside of a small plane entangled in live wires about 100 feet from the ground after it crashed into powerlines in Maryland Sunday evening.
The single-engine aircraft crashed into the high-tension wires near Goshen Road and Rothbury Drive as it prepared its descent towards Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg around 5:30 p.m., authorities said.
“[The two people aboard the plane] seem to be okay at this time, however, they’re in a very precarious situation due to the fact that they are dangling about 100 feet up and everything’s still energized,” Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Services chief spokesperson Pete Piringer said from the scene.
The collision left tens of thousands of people in the area without power Sunday night.
According to the local energy supplier, Pepco, 85,000 to 90,000 homes and businesses were affected by the “widespread” outages in Montgomery County. Several traffic lights are out and elevators have also been effected, Piringer said.
Emergency responders are first focusing on rescuing the two people, who are uninjured, suspended in the plane before restoration efforts can begin, officials said.
Montgomery Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said that emergency personnel are in communication with the two people on the plane, but cannot reach them until they are able to ensure the powerlines are grounded.
“While there is a large area of power outage in Montgomery County,… there is no other way to determine if it’s safe to access the tower until it is grounded or bonded,” Goldstein said at a press conference.
Crews must first secure the wires with clamps or cables to ensure there’s no static electricity or residual power that could electrocute rescue teams or the plane’s passengers. They then must secure the plane to the tower structure to prevent movement and vibrations, the chief said.
Once safe, the teams will remove the people from the plane. A large crane is also on the scene to assist.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane, a single-engine Mooney M20J, was coming from the Westchester County Airport in White Plains, NY when it collided into the wires.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.
It’s unknown when power will be restored to the thousands in the dark, Pepco said.