Maryland plane crash 911 calls released, revealing harrowing details

Maryland crash caused power outages

Maryland authorities released 911 calls made by the pilot who crashed a small plane into power lines on Monday.

In the calls released by Montgomery County police, pilot Patrick Merkle calmly explained what had occurred. 

"I’ve flown into a tower to the northwest of Gaithersburg airport. It’s one of the electrical towers, and believe it or not, the aircraft is pinned in the tower," the 65-year-old said. "I don’t know how long we’re going to be able to stay here."

Merkle told the dispatcher that he and his 66-year-old passenger had head injuries. Williams said that she is worried her rib is cracked.

MARYLAND SMALL PLANE CRASH: 2 RESCUED FROM PLANE TANGLED IN POWER LINES, POWER NEARLY RESTORED

Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said that both suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries and that hypothermia had set in while they waited to be pulled from the plane. Both occupants survived and one was released from the hospital on Monday. The other was in stable condition.

The plane was stuck in power lines about 100 feet above the ground at around 5:40 p.m. ET on Sunday.

A small plane rests on live power lines after crashing, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Montgomery Village, a northern suburb of Gaithersburg, Md. 

A small plane rests on live power lines after crashing, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Montgomery Village, a northern suburb of Gaithersburg, Md.  ((AP Photo/Tom Brenner))

Both passengers were concerned about the plane falling before rescuers could reach them. 

"I’m really getting worried," said Williams. "The plane is definitely moving from the wind."

Merkle said dropping tail first to the ground "would not be a survivable distance."

Responders secured the aircraft to the tower at 12:16 a.m. on Monday, 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 small plane rests on live power lines after crashing, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Montgomery Village, a northern suburb of Gaithersburg, Md. 

A small plane rests on live power lines after crashing, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Montgomery Village, a northern suburb of Gaithersburg, Md.  ((AP Photo/Tom Brenner))

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Utility contractors had to disconnect the high-tension wires to make it safe for rescuers to stabilize the plane.

The crash occurred about a mile from the Montgomery County Airpark, knocking out power in the surrounding area and causing Metrorail delays.

The Montgomery County Public School system closed its schools and offices Monday due to the outage’s impact on safety and school operations.

A small plane rests on live power lines after crashing, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Montgomery Village, a northern suburb of Gaithersburg, Md. 

A small plane rests on live power lines after crashing, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Montgomery Village, a northern suburb of Gaithersburg, Md.  ((AP Photo/Tom Brenner))

The single-engine Mooney M20J had departed from White Plains, New York.

The Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and Maryland State Police are investigating.

"Totally a visibility issue. We were looking for the airport. I descended to the minimum altitude and then apparently I got down a little bit lower than I should’ve," Merkle explained on the call.

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At the time of the crash, the conditions were misty and rainy, according to officials.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.