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Three employees of Tesla Motors were killed this morning when the Cessna 310 they were flying in crashed in a residential neighborhood in East Palo Alto, California.

A man who said he had flown with the pilot told KTVU News the man flying the twin-engine plane was “a high-ranking official” at the Silicon Valley automaker, and a Tesla spokesperson told Jalopnik the three people aboard were Tesla employees. And the San Francisco Chronicle reports the plane is owned by Doug Bourn, a senior electric engineer at Tesla, though it is not clear whether he was aboard.

Repeated messages left with Tesla Motors this morning have not been returned, and local police and the Federal Aviation Administration would not identify those aboard the plane.

The plane left Palo Alto Airport at about 7:55 a.m. headed for the Los Angeles suburb of Hawthorne when it lost power after takeoff, said East Palo Alto police Capt. John Chalmers. The plane hit a power line tower about one mile northeast of the airport, shearing a wing, then landed on a home daycare center in the 1200 block of Beech Street. The home caught fire as the plane slid down the street, hitting three cars that also caught fire, authorities said.

The initial crash crated a loud boom followed by a second boom that shook nearby houses, the Chronicle reports. Firefighters extinguished the fires within 30 minutes. No one on the ground was injured, Chalmers said.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the plane is a Cessna 310, tail number N5225J, registered to Unique Air Inc. of Santa Clara, California. The National Transportation Safety Board has an investigator enroute to the scene. Menlo Park Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman told the San Jose Mercury News mechanical failure or poor visibility due to heavy fog most likely caused the crash.

“The plane landed in the center of the street,” Schapelhouman said. “If not, many more individuals would have been impacted, perhaps killed. It is either very fortunate or intentional that he was able to do that.”
Space-X, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s aerospace venture, is based in

Hawthorne and Tesla has a design studio there. Much of the design and engineering work for the Model S sedan is being done there. Tesla spokeswoman Khobi Brooklyn told the Los Angeles Times the company had not yet received confirmation about who was on the flight.

“I can’t confirm any of the details,” she said, adding that the company would release a statement once it had more information.
More information when we have it.

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Mercury C557
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this was just on local news but I wasn't really paying attention - not sure they mentioned who was on the plane

not to be insensitive but
isn't Tesla a small enough company that this could be its undoing?


edit
I've got San Francisco news on the tv now
apparently the plane hit a electric power tower half way up it's 80-100 ft height. Haven't heard them release names yet -- not sure why
 
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