Note: This story was updated at 1:15 a.m.
A small plane crashed into a large tower Sunday evening around 5:30 p.m., injuring two and resulting in thousands in the Gaithersburg area losing power, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service officials said.
The plane struck a tower connected to high-voltage power lines around Rothbury Drive and Goshen Road in the Montgomery Village area of Gaithersburg, according to Pete Piringer, the MCFRS’s spokesperson.
Two people were trapped on the plane, the pilot and a passenger, according to Maryland State Police. Officials identified the pilot as Patrick Merkle, 65, of Washington, D.C., and the passenger as Jan Williams, 66, of Louisiana.
At a 1 a.m. press conference Monday, County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said both parties had been rescued by 12:36 a.m. and were taken to a local trauma center with serious injuries.
Goldstein identified the plane as a Mooney Mike 20P single engine model.
The pilot and the passenger were initially stated by officials to be unharmed at the time of impact, and the plane was suspended 100 feet above the ground and entangled in the powerlines.
Fire rescue crews responded to the situation, Piringer said.
“Area roads are closed as we come up with a plan to rescue these two people and mitigate the situation, but at this time, we do have our hazardous material [crews], [and] our technical rescue [team] on the scene assisting,” Piringer said.
Goldstein said rescuers were planning to use a crane or bucket trucks to bring the two people in the plane back down, and said that the pilot and passenger were routinely contacted over cellphone by rescuers to check up on them.
Potomac Electric Power Co. confirmed the incident on their official social media and tweeted, “We have confirmed that a private plane came into contact with Pepco’s transmission lines in Montgomery County, resulting in an outage to approximately 85,000 customers. We are assessing damage and working closely with Montgomery County Fire and Emergency Services.”
According to Piringer, the power outages impacted traffic signals, electricity as well as some elevators in the area.
At the 1 a.m. conference, Goldstein said most of the power in the county had been restored and rerouted by Pepco and its facilities.
As a result of the outage, Montgomery County Public Schools put out a statement through its official social media, and tweeted that its schools and offices would be closed on Monday as a result of the “widespread power outage and its impact on safety and school operations.”