911 call made by pilot that crashed and left him and passenger trapped

Officials have released the harrowing 911 call made by the pilot of a single-engine plane who were left dangling 100ft before miraculously surviving.  

The pilot Patrick Merkle of Washington, D.C. and the passenger Jan Williams, both 65, of , both suffered serious injuries and hypothermia but were rescued before things got worse. 

Merkle was discharged from a local hospital on Monday with Williams expected to be discharged Tuesday. 

The call begins with Merkle having to give his location as having ‘flown into a tower to the northwest’ of a nearby airport.

‘Believe it or not the aircraft is pinned in the tower. I don’t know how long we’re gonna be able to stay here,’ he adds before the operator clarifies Merkle is the pilot and asks him to stay on the line. 

Merkle then describes both of them of having head injuries ‘from being banged around in the cockpit’ and says that Williams is awake and breathing.

‘Please hurry,’ Williams added, noting that it looked like it would take a long time for emergency workers to get to them. ‘I’m really getting worried. The plane is definitely moving from the wind. So whatever it is they are going to do, they need to start doing it.’ 

Patrick Merkle, named as one of the two people rescued from the plane

Merkle, 65, was the pilot

The pilot Patrick Merkle of Washington, D.C. and the passenger Jan Williams, both 65, of Louisiana, both suffered serious injuries and hypothermia but were rescued before things got worse 

Officials have released the harrowing 911 call made by the pilot of a single-engine plane who were left dangling 100ft off the ground for nearly seven hours before miraculously surviving

Officials have released the harrowing 911 call made by the pilot of a single-engine plane who were left dangling 100ft off the ground for nearly seven hours before miraculously surviving 

Dispatcher Laurel Manion told the  that despite their precarious state, ‘they were pretty calm. I don’t know how calm I would have been if I was in their shoes. And that’s just what I was trying to think about the whole time that I was reassuring them.” 

The crash is still under investigation, with a cause yet to be determined by the National Transportation Safety Board.

It will likely take weeks to come up with an answer to what happened to the craft. 

The plane crashed into a pylon at around 5.40 p.m. on Sunday evening in Maryland – causing widespread power cuts in the surrounding county – before its occupants were rescued several hours later.

Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said the plane was secured to the tower at 12:16 a.m. and the first occupant was removed from the plane at 12:25 a.m. The second occupant was out at 12:36 a.m. 

Two people were extricated from a small plane early Monday in Maryland, several hours after they crashed into power lines, causing widespread outages in the surrounding county

Two people were extricated from a small plane early Monday in Maryland, several hours after they crashed into power lines, causing widespread outages in the surrounding county

He said both men suffered ‘serious injuries’ from the crash and that hypothermia was also an issue. Both men were transported to local trauma centers with non-life threatening injuries, Goldstein said.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement that the single-engine plane, which had departed White Plains, N.Y., crashed into the power lines near Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg around 5:40 p.m. Sunday.

Harrowing video captured the scene in Gaithersburg earlier Sunday evening where the plane could be seen dangling 100 feet in the air from a power tower as crews work to rescue the occupants.

Goldstein gave a detailed account of what would happen in order to rescue the occupants. He said that utility contractors would first work to ground the high-tension wires to make it safe for rescuers to work. Fire crews then used bucket trucks or a crane to make the plane stable by chaining it or strapping it to the tower.

After the plane is more stable, Goldstein said, rescuers will use the crane or bucket trucks to bring the two people down. He said rescuers are periodically contacting them by cellphone to check on them.

Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said the plane was secured to the tower at 12:16 a.m. and the first occupant was removed from the plane at 12:25 a.m. The second occupant was out at 12:36 a.m.

Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said the plane was secured to the tower at 12:16 a.m. and the first occupant was removed from the plane at 12:25 a.m. The second occupant was out at 12:36 a.m. 

A crowd gathered to watch the dramatic rescue after the small plane crashed on Sunday

A crowd gathered to watch the dramatic rescue after the small plane crashed on Sunday

Officials responded to the scene of the crash in the area of Rothbury Drive and Goshen Road in Montgomery County near Gaithersburg, a small city about 24 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. 

The FAA said the single-engine Mooney M20J departed from Westchester County Airport in White Plains. The cause of the crash wasn’t immediately clear. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate what happened. 

The small plane remained stuck about 100 feet above the ground late into Sunday evening, and the transmission lines remained live, complicating rescue efforts, Pete Piringer, chief spokesperson for the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service, told local news outlets.

The utility company Pepco reported that about 85,000-90,000 customers were without power in Montgomery County. Pepco said the plane came into contact with the company’s aerial transmission lines.   

People watch as the small plane rested on live power lines after crashing

People watch as the small plane rested on live power lines after crashing

Crews conducted a high-angle rescue for a pilot and passenger who became trapped when a small plane crashed into live power lines in Gaithersburg, Maryland Sunday evening

Crews conducted a high-angle rescue for a pilot and passenger who became trapped when a small plane crashed into live power lines in Gaithersburg, Maryland Sunday evening

Harrowing photos and video captured the scene in Gaithersburg where the plane could be seen dangling 100 feet in the air from a power tower

Harrowing photos and video captured the scene in Gaithersburg where the plane could be seen dangling 100 feet in the air from a power tower

Officials responded to the crash around 5:40 p.m. in the area of Rothbury Drive and Goshen Road in Montgomery County near Gaithersburg, 24 miles northwest of Washington, D.C.

Officials responded to the crash around 5:40 p.m. in the area of Rothbury Drive and Goshen Road in Montgomery County near Gaithersburg, 24 miles northwest of Washington, D.C.

‘The company is assessing damage and contingency opportunities to restore service to impacted customers,’ a Pepco spokesperson said. 

‘Pepco is working closely with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services and is awaiting clearance to the scene before crews can begin work to stabilize the electric infrastructure and begin restoring service.’

Montgomery County Department of Police is asking people to avoid the area of the crash as there are still live wires.

The FAA released the following statement: 

‘This information is preliminary and subject to change.

A single-engine Mooney M20J crashed into wires near Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg, Md., around 5:40 p.m. local time today. Two people were on board. The aircraft departed from Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide additional updates.

The registration number is N201RF. You can look up the aircraft by its registration number on this webpage.

Neither agency identifies people involved in aircraft accidents.’

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