UPDATE, Nov. 28, 8:30 a.m. — Montgomery County Public Schools said that as of 4 a.m., Pepco had restored power to all schools and offices.

After the power outages, staff needed to assess all buildings for their safety and other systems readiness such as heat, water and network connectivity. They were to do that throughout the day Monday. All childcare programs were canceled. Food service at MCPS schools was not available. The school district expected to return to normal operations on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

UPDATE, Nov. 28, 1:34 a.m. — Pepco released a statement after both people were freed from the plane confirming that they had restored electricity for everyone who had been impacted as of 11:58 p.m. even though the electric lines involved in the crash did not have power.

Pepco is pleased to have successfully assisted Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services and other local emergency personnel with the effort to rescue the individuals who were stranded in the airplane in Montgomery County.

Pepco statement

UPDATE, Nov. 28, 12:30 a.m. — Both people were freed from the plane after hours of work by rescue workers. Bystanders waiting near the scene of the crash erupted into cheers as they saw both people get rescued one at a time after almost seven hours trapped in the plane.

Officials said that both the pilot and passenger had serious injuries described as “hypothermia” and “orthopedic injuries.” Ambulances waited at the scene to take them to area trauma centers.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesperson Pete Piringer also gave an update several hours into the rescue. He said that as of midnight, the power lines had been grounded. Fire crews were working to secure the plane to the tower and extricate the two in the plane.

Piringer said that they had been in constant contact with the individuals in the plane.

He said that Pepco was also on the scene working on getting power back on for Montgomery County residents.

UPDATE, Nov. 27, 11:26 p.m. — Montgomery County Public Schools tweeted that schools and offices would be closed Monday, Nov. 28, due to the power outages and its “impact on safety and school operations.”

UPDATE, Nov. 27, 11:25 p.m. — Montgomery College tweeted that all of the community college’s campuses would be closed on Monday, Nov. 28 because of the power outages.

UPDATE, Nov. 27, 10:41 p.m. — Montgomery County Public Schools added an update to their website about the impact that the power outage has on the schools.

“Currently, more than 40 schools and 6 central office facilities are without power, affecting a number of key services such as maintenance, buses and food services.” 


UPDATE, Nov. 27, 10 p.m. — At a news conference, Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said approximately 120,000 customers were without power. The Emergency Operations Center was opened.

Goldstein said the outages were limiting the number of people two hospitals could take.

UPDATE, Nov. 27, 9:01 p.m. — Maryland State Police, which was one of the agencies on the scene of the crash, said the pilot of the plane was Patrick Merkle, 65, of Washington D.C. His passenger was Jan Williams, 66, of Louisiana.

UPDATE, Nov. 27, 8:57 p.m. — Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said at a news conference there were a number of ongoing concerns. One of the big ones was that there was no way to tell if it was safe to access the tower until it was grounded or bonded. Goldstein said that meant that crews would have to go up to the lines, themselves, to put clamps or cables onto the wires to ensure there is no static electricity or residual power.

The other big issue at the site of the incident was vibration from the airplane. Crews needed to secure the plane to the tower structure.

People from Pepco’s contractor who deal with the towers were on site, as well as a large crane from a company to help.

Goldstein said they were waiting on other resources to arrive.

UPDATE, Nov. 27, 8:37 p.m. — Pepco explained in a tweet that the lines that were hit power small distribution substations across the county, resulting in the customer outages. The tweet said, in part: “The priority is providing the assistance needed to support the rescue effort and then crews will work to restore service for customers safely and as quickly as possible.”

UPDATE, Nov. 27, 8:25 p.m. — A spokesman for Montgomery County Public Schools said the district was assessing what impact the situation and outages had on schools or would have. MCPS expected to have a message later Sunday night to the school community.

UPDATE Nov. 27, 8:16 p.m. — Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority put out a Red Line alert, letting people know they should allow enough time if they were traveling from Shady Grove to Grosvenor-Strathmore or Glenmont to Silver Spring due to the crash.

Trains were bypassing Wheaton, and WMATA was providing shuttle buses.

UPDATE, Nov. 27, 8:15 p.m. — The plane that hit the lines was a 45-year-old Mooney M20. The plane took off from Westchester County Airport in New York, bound for Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg, Md.

UPDATE, Nov. 27, 7:45 p.m. — Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services tweeted that its 24-hour crisis center was among places affected by the power outages. As a result, no walk-in services were available. Phone service was not affected, so anyone in need of support still could call (240) 777-4000.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — More than 85,000 households across Montgomery County were left without power after a plane crashed into a power lines tower in Gaithersburg on Sunday evening. First responders were working to rescue two people trapped in the plane.

Image courtesy of Pete Piringer @mcfrspio via Twitter

First responders said that the crash happened near Rothbury Drive and Goshen Road. The plane was suspended about 100 feet in the air.

Pete Piringer, spokesman for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, said in an update that the crash happened around 5:30 p.m. The wires still were energized Sunday evening.

Piringer said that they have been in contact with the people on board. Neither of them was hurt.

Pepco’s outage map showed more than 85,000 customers without power in that part of Maryland as of 6:31 p.m. There was no estimate on when power may be restored. Pepco asked that customers report outages online, by using their app or by texting OUT to 48710.

Several roads in the area were also closed as officials responded to the scene.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue established an information hotline for any residents to call at 240-777-2442.