Small plane crashes into transmission tower in Maryland, cutting electricity to over 85,000 people

The pilot and passenger were flying to Montgomery County Airpark, an airport near Gaithersburg, Maryland. PHOTOS: IAFF LOCAL 1664 MONTGOMERY COUNTY CAREER FIRE FIGHTERS/FACEBOOK

WASHINGTON – A small plane crashed into a transmission tower in Maryland on Sunday, knocking out electricity to roughly 85,000 customers as rescuers raced to extricate the two people on board who were trapped about 30m above the ground.

The pilot and the passenger, whose names were not released by the authorities, did not appear to be seriously injured, Mr Pete Piringer, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, said on Sunday.

He said rescuers had been in contact with the two people as the aircraft dangled in the power lines and tower.

Mr Piringer said the pilot and passenger were flying to Montgomery County Airpark, an airport near Gaithersburg, Maryland, about 64km west of Baltimore.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane, a single-engine Mooney M20J, departed from Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York, on Sunday.

It remained unclear what led to the crash, which happened in Montgomery Village, Maryland and made for unusual photos by residents and officials on social media. The images and videos showed the plane entangled in power lines and seemingly suspended in the air in a snarled mess of metal.

As of 7.30pm, Mr Piringer said crews were still figuring out how they would reach and rescue the two people. The first step, he said, would be to turn off the power.

“Once that’s de-energised, we’ll be able to get up there and get them,” Mr Piringer said, adding, “I don’t know how they’re going to do it yet.”

Pepco, the energy company in Maryland affected by the crash, said on Twitter that it was “awaiting clearance to the scene before crews can begin work to stabilise the electric infrastructure and begin restoring service”.

Mr Piringer said the power failures caused by the crash led to problems, including stalled elevators and malfunctioning traffic lights on Sunday night. NYTIMES

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