Montgomery County Fire Department Chief Scott Goldstein said rescue crews were able to secure the plane at 12:16 a.m. Monday following a bonding and grounding process. The pilot and passenger were lowered via a bucket truck by 12:36 a.m.
Goldstein said the pilot and passenger were taken to a local trauma center with “serious injuries,” including orthopedic and trauma injuries and hypothermia.
“It went very well,” Goldstein told reporters around 1 a.m. “What I do believe is faster than we expected was the ability to remove them from the aircraft themselves. Both people assisted us in their movement from the aircraft to the bucket of those tower units. That made for a much faster removal.”
The pilot was identified as Patrick Merkle, 65, of Washington, D.C., and the passenger was identified as Jan Williams, 66, of Louisiana by Maryland State Police.
Goldstein added that all crews, along with Merkle and Williams, working together in unison helped the rescue end successfully.
Around 3 a.m., the plane was removed from the power lines, and most power was restored to the surrounding community, including around 113,000 households.
Montgomery County Public Schools said all schools and childcare programs would be closed Monday.
The single-engine Mooney M20J plane traveled from New York and was in the process of landing at the Montgomery County Airpark in a suburb of Washington, D.C., when it crashed around 5:30 p.m.
“The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide additional updates,” a statement from the FAA read.