Patrick Merkle was identified as the pilot of the small plane in Maryland that was trapped in power lines after a crash on Sunday, November 27, 2022, according to Maryland State Police. Merkle and a passenger were rescued after seven hours, police said in a press release.
The state police said, “The pilot is identified as Patrick Merkle, 66, of Washington, D.C. He was operating a Mooney Mike 20P single engine plane. One passenger on board is identified as Janet Williams, 66, of Marrero, Louisiana. Following the rescue operation, both occupants were transported to Suburban Hospital for medical treatment.”
According to CNN, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Chief Scott Goldstein said the pilot and passenger suffered “serious injuries, including orthopedic and trauma injuries from the crash and hypothermia.”
Dramatic photos emerged of the plane on the power lines, which you can see throughout this article. The plane crash occurred on November 27, 2022, in Montgomery County, Maryland, according to Maryland State Police.
Montgomery County Department of Police tweeted, “A small plane has crashed into power lines in the area of Rothbury Dr & Goshen Rd, taking out power to parts of the county. @mcfrs is on scene. PLEASE AVOID THE AREA, as there are still live wires. #MCPD #MCPNews.”
Here’s what you need to know:
The Plane Was Suspended in Wires 100 Feet in the Air, Maryland State Police Say
According to CNN, the plane was suspended 100 feet in the air. Rescue crews had to wait for the tower where the plane was stuck was “grounded or bonded,” Goldstein told reporters, according to CNN. “It involved crews ascending to put clamps or cables onto the wires to make sure there was no static electricity or residual power, the chief said. The airplane also needed to be secured to the tower structure, he said. Foggy weather conditions in the area made matters more complicated, he added, by affecting visibility,” CNN wrote.
“Shortly before 1:00 a.m. this morning the pilot and passenger of the single engine plane were successfully rescued from the suspended plane without incident by EMS personnel using two specialty crane/boom trucks. The area of Goshen Road and Rothbury Drive remains closed while efforts to remove the plane continue,” Maryland State Police said.
“Shortly before 6:00 p.m. today, Maryland State Police at the Rockville Barrack were dispatched to the report of a plane crash located about four miles northwest of the Montgomery County Airpark in the area of Goshen Road and Rothbury Drive. Arriving troopers found the plane suspended in the air, entangled in a power line tower.”
According to NBC 4 Washington, “A small plane with two people onboard slammed into a power transmission line in Gaithersburg, Maryland, on Sunday…The plane’s occupants were unhurt but left stranded 100 feet off the ground.”
The Cause of the Plane Crash Is Still Under Investigation
“Maryland State Police and EMS responders from Montgomery County Fire and Rescue remain on the scene alone with personnel from the Potomac Electric Power Company. Personnel from the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration are also on the scene assisting with the road closures,” the Maryland State Police said in a press release.
“Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are conducting the investigation. Members of the Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division are assisting with the investigation. There are no signs of criminal activity or foul play at this time. The investigation continues,” the state police wrote in the press release.
Some photos appeared to show a man hanging from the plane.
According to police, “The Federal Aviation Administration has an aircraft restriction in place while rescue efforts are active ongoing. Rothbury Drive and Goshen Road remains closed. Personnel from the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration are on the scene assisting with the road closures.”
Fog made rescue efforts more difficult, Fox News reported. According to David Kaplan, a Washington D.C. journalist, the “plane took off from” White Plaines, New York.