Montgomery County Police Release 911 Call Made by Pilot After Plane Crashed Into Power Line Tower

by Patrick Herron

Montgomery County Police have released the 9-1-1 call made by the pilot who crashed a small plane into a power line tower near Goshen Road and Rothbury Drive in Montgomery Village on Sunday evening.  Maryland State Police identified the pilot as Patrick Merkle, 65, of Washington, D.C, and the passenger as Jan Williams, 66, of Louisiana. The two were rescued around 12:30am on Monday after spending seven hours in the tower, suspended more than 100ft.  In a press briefing on Monday, Fire Chief Scott Goldstein reported that both individuals had been transported to the hospital and their conditions had improved. One patient was still in the hospital as of Monday afternoon.  The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the cause of the crash.

In the 9-1-1 call, Merkle tells the dispatcher, “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 and I don’t know how long we’re going to be able to stay here.” He also said that he believed the two had suffered head injuries from being banged around in the cockpit. You can listen to portions of the 9-1-1 call below courtesy of WUSA9:

Per the Maryland State Police: The pilot and passenger of a single engine plane that crashed yesterday into a power line tower in Montgomery County have been rescued and transported to an area hospital for medical treatment. The pilot is identified as Patrick Merkle, 66, of Washington, D.C. He was operating a Mooney Mark 20P single engine plane. One passenger on board is identified as Janet Williams, 66, of Marrero, Louisiana. Following the rescue operation, both occupants were transported to Suburban Hospital for medical treatment.

Shortly before 1:00 a.m. this morning the pilot and passenger of the single engine plane were successfully rescued from the suspended plane without incident by EMS personnel using two specialty crane/boom trucks. The area of Goshen Road and Rothbury Drive remains closed while efforts to remove the plane continue.

Shortly before 6:00 p.m. last night, Maryland State Police at the Rockville Barrack were dispatched to the location of the plane crash about four miles northwest of the Montgomery County Airpark in the area of Goshen Road and Rothbury Drive. Arriving troopers found the plane suspended in the air, entangled in a power line tower.

Maryland State Police and EMS responders from Montgomery County Fire and Rescue remain on the scene alone with personnel from the Potomac Electric Power Company. Personnel from the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration are also on the scene assisting with the road closures.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are conducting the investigation. Members of the Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division are assisting with the investigation. There are no signs of criminal activity or foul play at this time. The investigation continues..


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