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Rescue mission underway for occupants of plane dangling from Maryland power lines

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Authorities said before they can extract the plane's two occupants they first must ensure that the aircraft is secure and that the power infrastructure has been de-energized and grounded. Photo courtesy of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Chief Spokesman Pete Piringer/Twitter
Authorities said before they can extract the plane's two occupants they first must ensure that the aircraft is secure and that the power infrastructure has been de-energized and grounded. Photo courtesy of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Chief Spokesman Pete Piringer/Twitter

Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Authorities were working to extract a pilot and a passenger from a small plane dangling 100 feet above the ground Sunday night after it crashed into power lines in Maryland.

The Montgomery County Department of Police reported the crash Sunday evening, posting pictures of a small plane hanging from high-tension power wires near a transmission tower in the city of Gaithersburg, located north of Washington, D.C.

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Scott Goldstein, fire chief for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, told reporters during a press conference that the plane crash occurred at about 5:30 p.m. at the intersection of Rothbury Drive and Goshen Road.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known, but authorities said the plane's occupants were uninjured and authorities were on the scene.

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"We have been in contact and continue to be in contact with the folks in the plane," Goldstein said.

Goldstein explained the rescue mission is underway but first authorities need to ensure the transmission tower is safe to access and that the plane is secure to the structure.

Resources have arrived to address these concerns with others on the way, he said.

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"One of our concerns is the safety of the occupants in the airplane, safety of the fire rescue personnel and the rescue there of," he said.

Pepco, an energy distributor for Maryland and Washington, D.C., said some 85,000 were without power Sunday night as a result of the crash.

"We are assessing damage and working closely with Montgomery County fire and emergency services," Pepco tweeted. "We are awaiting clearance to the scene before crews can begin work to stabilize the electric infrastructure and begin restoring services."

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The company, which supplies electricity to nearly 900,000 customers, said transmission lines have been de-energized with its priority being providing authorities with the assistance needed to support the rescue operation.

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