Bad day at the Office

A small plane, apparently on approach to Montgomery County airport in heavy fog, struck power lines, interrupting power across the area.

Rather surprisingly, the aircraft, a Mooney M20, remained suspended in the power lines and the pilot and passenger were unharmed.

This is nuts:

A small plane crashed into a power line Sunday, knocking out power for tens of thousands of people in Montgomery County.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that the single-engine plane, which had departed from White Plains, New York, crashed into the power lines near Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg around 5:40 p.m. The FAA said two people were aboard.

The Maryland State Police said in a news release Sunday evening that troopers were sent just before 6 p.m. to Montgomery Village, where a plane had been found suspended in the air, tangled in a power line tower near Goshen Road and Rothbury Drive.

Patrick Merkle, 65, of Washington, D.C., was piloting the Mooney Mike 20P single-engine plane, state police said. Merkle and passenger Jan Williams, 66, of Louisiana were unharmed and awaiting rescue Sunday evening.


Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein told reporters that it would take until 9:30 p.m. or later to have all the resources in place to proceed with rescue efforts, but he gave no timetable for how long after that it would take to bring the plane occupants down.

Goldstein said utility contractors will first work to ground the high-tension wires to make it safe for rescuers to work. Fire crews will then use bucket trucks or a crane to make the plane stable by chaining it or strapping it to the tower. After the plane is more stable, Goldstein said, rescuers will use the crane or bucket trucks to bring the two people down. He said rescuers are periodically contacting them by cellphone to check on them.

Two observations, don’t fly when the wether is like this, and Merkle and Williams are some very lucky motherf%$#ers to have survived.



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