A single-engine plane crashed into a power line in Maryland on Sunday, and its pilot and only passenger were rescued hours later.
Pilot Patrick Merkle, 66, of Washington, D.C. and passenger Janet Williams, 66, of Marrero, Louisiana were flying in a Mooney Mike 20P single engine plane when it crashed into the Montgomery County power line on Sunday evening, according to a state police release.
Before 6 p.m. on Sunday, Maryland State Police at the Rockville Barrack were sent to the location where they found the plane suspended in the air, state police shared.
EMS rescued both passengers from the crash site using specialty crane/boom trucks around 1 a.m. on Monday, per the release. The passengers were taken to the local Suburban Hospital for medical treatment regarding orthopedic and trauma injuries from both the crash and resulting hypothermia, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Chief Scott Goldstein said, per CNN.
The fire department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
The location — around Goshen Road and Rothbury Drive — was then temporarily closed, as the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration have begun to investigate the crash, with assistance from the Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division.
The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service was in contact with the pilot and passenger during the rescue, per CNN, as Goldstein told reporters Sunday that the tower had to be "grounded or bonded" before the passengers could be assisted, per CNN.
In an effort to avoid static electricity or residual power, crews placed clamps or cables on wires, Goldstein shared, adding that rescuers also had to deal with foggy weather conditions. After grounding power lines at 11:30 p.m., a utility contractor assisted with securing the plane, CNN reported.
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Using a mechanical lift, crews rescued the first person around 12:25 a.m. before rescuing another 10 minutes later. The plane was removed around 4 a.m., per Montgomery County (MD) Fire & Rescue Service spokesperson Pete Piringer.
As a result of the crash, roughly 120,000 customers were without power Sunday, before it was restored on Monday, per the Pepco utility company.
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William Smouse, a local who lives roughly a mile away from the crash site, told WJLA on Sunday that he saw "two big flashes," calling the crash "pretty scary."
"I saw all of these fire engines going by," Smouse said. "I did see the police at Apple Ridge and Montgomery Village, so I thought it was something big, so we just turned around and came over here. There was a guy who was right here when it happened and said he heard a big crash, a big boom and everything."