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Plane that departed from Westchester crashes into Maryland power lines, 2 rescued

The pilot and passenger of the single-engine Mooney M20J waited to be rescued for seven hours.

News 12 Staff

Nov 28, 2022, 11:20 AM

Updated 566 days ago

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A single engine plane that departed from Westchester County Airport on Sunday crashed into power lines in Maryland.
The plane flew out of Westchester County Airport Sunday afternoon before crashing in Montgomery County, Maryland at about 5:30 p.m. The intended destination was an airport that was just a mile from the crash site.
The crash knocked out power for 120,000 Maryland residents.
The pilot and passenger of the single-engine Mooney M20J waited to be rescued for seven hours.
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesperson Peter Piringer says the plane hit distribution lines before lodging into the power tower. Along with the rainy weather, it created a complicated and dangerous rescue.
"We were communicating with the occupants of the plane the entire time, they were OK. They were very anxious and wanted to get out, of course,” Piringer says.
Maryland State Police say the pilot is identified as Patrick Merkle, 65, of Washington, D.C. The passenger is identified as Jan Williams, 66, of Louisiana.
They were rescued after midnight and were hypothermic and suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
“The good thing is everybody got out safely…it took a while, but we got them out,” Piringer says.
He adds that the plane was so high up that they had to use binoculars to see what was going on.
The National Transportation Safety Board says its investigation will look at the pilot, aircraft and the environment to determine the cause of the crash. A preliminary report is expected to take two to three weeks.
A final report is expected to take anywhere from one to two years.


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