By Kelsey Kushner


HANOVER, Md. (WJZ) — A small plane crashed into a wooded area near the Tipton Airport Tuesday evening, officials said.

The single-engine plane went down in the area of Bald Eagle Road and Maryland Route 198 near Fort Meade east of Laurel. Dispatchers received a 911 call at 6:09 p.m.

The pilot, Thomas Falk, 55, of Silver Spring, and a passenger, James Palazak, 59, of Columbia, were inside the plane when it went down, state police said.

Fire officials had initially identified one of the men as being in his 40s.

One of the men was a student pilot and the other an instructor, firefighters said.

Both were still inside the plane when first responders arrived at the scene. One man was extricated by ground ladders, while the other was rescued by special operations rope rescue teams. Both were taken to Shock Trauma with minor injuries.

The plane was about 50 feet off the ground in a tree on property owned by the Patuxent Research Refuge. It is about 200 feet away from the road in the woods.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating what led to the crash, but state police said it appears the plane may have experienced engine failure.

Small Plane Crashes, Hits Car Along Highway In Bowie, Maryland

Last week, a small plane crashed along Route 50 nearby in Bowie, injuring four people.

Kelsey Kushner

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