A twin-engine Cessna piloted by a Tesla manager crashed into an East Palo Alto neighborhood today killing the pilot and two other Tesla employees on board.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the plane belonged to Doug Bourn, a senior electrical engineer for Tesla Motors. Although it's unclear whether or not he was on board at the time. As we reported first earlier, two other Tesla employees were in the plane at the time of the crash. Fox Business News reported earlier today Tesla CEO Elon Musk was not on board the plane, and that he's calling this the "worst day in Telsa's history." Later on, he issued a full statement, which can be read here at Wired.
According to Marty Padgett, the editor of The Car Connection, Tesla employees are reportedly "shaken." He also spotted a bus brought to the front of their facility. We initially assumed it was to take shaken employees to a place where they could be consoled, but we're now told the bus had people with name tags milling about around it. We've no idea what that could be about.
So what happened? According to SFGate:
Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the plane was a twin-engine Cessna 310 that had taken off from Palo Alto Airport, about a mile to the southwest, and was bound for Hawthorne Municipal Airport in Los Angeles County.
FAA records show that the plane is registered to Air Unique Inc. of Santa Clara. It was manufactured in 1976.
A twin-engine Cessna crashed into electric transmission lines shortly after take-off from a small airport, exploding on impact, killing all three people onboard and crashing into an East Palo Alto neighborhood, authorities said. No one on the ground was reportedly injured.
The crash has caused a power outage in the Palo Alto after the plane hit transmission wires. @vmwarecares also claims they've got a phone outage as well.
Daniel Morales, who told KTVU he had previously flown with the pilot, identified him as a high-ranking official at Tesla Motors and told a cameraman the other passengers were Tesla employees. Neither Tesla Motors nor the authorities, however, have released the names of the victims.
NBC Bay Area tells us the IPO should be able to proceed as planned in the wake of this tragedy as the three dead were not "C-Suite" (Chief Executive Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Operating..., etc.) executives requiring a new S-1 filing.
This electric carmaker — a company that has done everything but paint its logo green in a bid to sell itself as environmentally-friendly — have had a penchant as of late for gas-guzzling private airplanes. But that's sort of been the Tesla way. An electric car without compromising speed or style. The roadster's perfect for the Hollywood and Silicon Valley elite — environmental credibility without having to give up your private plane.
Last week, the love of private planes figuratively killed Tesla CEO Elon Musk's public relations coup surrounding Tesla's acceptance of federal tax dollars after the public learned he forced Tesla to reimburse him for 12 trips he took in his own jet. Now, sadly, the love of private planes — even one as small as a Cessna — has taken the lives of three of Tesla's own employees.
UPDATE: The San Jose Mercury News has identified the victims as: "Doug Bourn, 56, of Santa Clara, a senior electrical engineer; Andrew Ingram, 31, of Palo Alto, an electrical engineer; and Brian M. Finn, 42, of East Palo Alto; a senior manager of interactive electronics."