Pilot’s 911 call reveals moments after small plane crashed into Maryland power pylon


The publication of a 911 call that may have saved the lives of a pilot and his passenger after the plane he was flying crashed into a high-voltage transmission tower in Maryland on Sunday night has revealed some of the circumstances that surrounded the accident.

Pilot Patrick Merkle, 65, of Washington, DC, and passenger Jan Williams, 66, of Louisiana, were rescued in the early hours of Monday morning after the crash outside Gaithersburg, and were found with Serious but non-life threatening injuries.

“I have flown into a tower northwest of the Gaithersburg airport. It’s one of the electrical towers,” the pilot told dispatchers in a 911 call made public by Montgomery County police, according to NBC Washington. “Believe it or not, the plane is pinned to the tower,” she says.

“Fortunately, we don’t have a lot of wind, but if there is some wind, we’ll go,” said the pilot, as he and his passenger remained trapped inside the plane.

At one point, the pilot described what happened in the moments before the crash.

“Totally a visibility issue,” he said, according to NBC Washington. “We were looking for the airport. I went down to minimum altitude and, uh, then apparently I went down a little bit lower than I should have.”

Ultimately, first responders were able to rescue the couple.

“I just want to say, I’m very, very glad that both the pilot and the passenger made it out safely,” Laurel Manion, the Montgomery County public safety employee who responded to the initial 911 call from the pilot of the plane, told NBC. airplane. Washington.

“That was the ultimate goal, and I hope they are okay,” Manion said in a message to the pilot and passenger. “I wish you good health.”

The Mooney M20J single-engine plane was first reported about 4 miles northwest of the Montgomery County Air Park around 5:40 p.m. Sunday, according to troops and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Authorities said at a post-incident news conference that the rescue was a complicated process, as any power lines near the wreckage needed to be tested in person to ensure they would not harm first responders or the two people on board the plane. .

The couple was eventually rescued by EMS personnel using two special trucks with tow trucks, state police said in a statement.

Both were rushed to trauma care following their rescue, Montgomery County Fire Department officials previously said at a news conference. One of them remained in the hospital until Monday afternoon, authorities said. It was not immediately clear what his status was as of early Wednesday morning.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board have said they are investigating the cause of the accident.

Officials said about 120,000 utility customers in the area lost power at one point Sunday night and the outage prompted school closures Monday.

A statement from Pepco, Potomac Electric Power Co., said crews responded to the crash site and worked with authorities to expedite rescue and restore power, which was restored to all at 11:58 p.m. Sunday, according to the president of the Pepco region. Mrs Cooper.

denis romero Y mirna alsharif contributed.

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