A 'Tragic Day' for Tesla Motors: Three Employees Die in a Plane Crash

Three employees of Silicon Valley electric car start-up Tesla were killed Wednesday when their small passenger plane crashed into an electric tower in East Palo Alto, Calif, the company confirmed. According to Stanford University's emergency information center, the crash knocked out power in parts of Palo Alto, home to dozens of tech companies including Facebook, which reported an outage. There were no reports of injuries on the ground.Tesla Chairman and CEO Elon Musk, who frequently flies aboard his own private jet, was not on board.

"Three Tesla employees were on board a plane that crashed in East Palo Alto early this morning," Musk said in a statement sent to DailyFinance. "We are withholding their identities as we work with the relevant authorities to notify the families. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. Tesla is a small, tightly knit company, and this is a tragic day for us."

The twin-engine Cessna 310, which was registered to Tesla senior engineer Doug Bourn, according to Reuters, took off Wednesday morning from Palo Alto Airport heading for Hawthorne Municipal Airport near Los Angeles. Just before 8 a.m. PST, amid dense fog, the plane lost power, according to reports. It then crashed into an electrical tower, sending debris into two houses and several parked cars, and starting a fire on the ground.

"The plane hit transmission lines that are draped 377 feet above the ground near the Dumbarton Bridge," according to a report from KTVU cited by The New York Times. "It exploded on impact with the wires, splitting into two pieces and igniting fires at two homes.'"

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