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Some controversy surrounds Montgomery Co. Airpark after latest crash

Two people were rescued from a small airplane tangled in power lines near Montgomery County Airpark on Sunday night.

GAITHERSBURG, Md. — The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board continue to investigate after a small airplane crashed into power lines near the Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg Sunday night. Rescue crews pulled trapped inside the plane tangled in power lines following the crash. Both the pilot and passenger were taken to area hospitals for treatment of injuries thought to be serious.

Neighbors who live nearby are used to air traffic near their homes, but one witness we spoke to said Sunday's crash was unusual.

"I've never seen anything like this before," the man said. "We have planes going over our house every day. They come right over our house at about 300 feet... so we're very familiar with it."

Sunday's crash was not the first time the area around the Montgomery County Airpark was the site of a crash. In 2014, six people were killed when a corporate jet crashed into a family home in the 19700 block of Drop Forge Lane. A mother and her two young children were killed in the crash, along with three people who were aboard the jet. 

Marie Gemmell, 36, seven-week-old baby boy Devin and three-year-old son Cole were killed when a plane trying to land at Montgomery County Airpark crashed right beside the home. The plane's wing flew directly into the house, setting off a series of explosions and killing all who were inside.

Marie's husband, Ken, and daughter, Arabelle, were not home at the time of the crash. 

Following Sunday's crash, some neighbors who live in the area heard debates about the Airpark. 

"I've heard a few comments from other people who are against the Airpark. I've lived here for 50 years and it's crucial to our community that we do have the Airpark, I do support it. There are some people who are against it, but I think it's really necessary."

The Montgomery County Airpark (GAI) first opened in 1959. It is designated as a reliever airport for Reagan National Airport. It has a 4,200 foot runway, which has three instrument approaches, making it  the closest “jetport” to the nation's capital, according to the Airpark's website.  The airpark saw an estimated 79,626 operations in 2021. 

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