Maryland Plane Crash: New details on rescue operation, investigation

What caused a plane to crash into power lines in Montgomery County on Sunday? The investigation is currently underway, and we're learning new details about the incredible rescue story the likes of which few have ever seen. 

The aircraft is back on the ground after being stuck 100 feet in the air. The incident happened around 5:30 p.m. in the area of Rothbury Drive and Goshen Road in the Montgomery Village area of Gaithersburg. Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesperson Pete Piringer said the small plane had become entangled in a power line tower and was suspended until Monday afternoon.

READ MORE: Pilot, passenger rescued after small plane crashes into power lines in Montgomery County

According to Maryland State Police, the pilot and passenger left White Plains, New York on Sunday around 3 p.m. before crashing in Gaithersburg. A website tracking flight history reveals they were supposed to land at Montgomery County Airpark.

For more than seven hours, emergency officials worked to get the two occupants out of the plane and move the plane off the tower all while insuring the power lines were grounded.

Officials now say the plane actually struck the power lines of one tower, but then became entangled on another tower next to it. The plane occupants were the ones to call 911.

At one point, 120,000 homes lost power, closing Montgomery County Schools for the day.

The National Transportation Safety Board tells FOX 5 they are centering their investigation on three areas: the pilot, 65-year-old Patrick Merkle, the plane, a single-engine Mooney M20J, and the environment. 

READ MORE: Maryland Plane Crash: What we know about the pilot, passenger

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich says he'll be following up on residents' ongoing questions about the safety at the airpark.

The NTSB tells FOX 5 they expect to have a preliminary report in two to three weeks and a final report in 12 to 24 months.