It's been revealed that three employees from electric car maker Tesla Motors were on board the small plane that crashed earlier this morning in California where it flew into electrical transmission lines.
CEO Elon Musk (pictured right), the public face of the pioneering startup, was safe. Wired.com confirmed that J.B. Straubel, Tesla’s chief technology officer and a pilot, was also not aboard the plane.
"Although we don't know the full details of the crash, this was a huge tragedy for Tesla," says Jim Motavalli, author of an upcoming book about the electric car industry and the auto blogger here at MNN. "The loss of three employees will deeply shake this small company, though I expect it to survive and even thrive in the years ahead. The company has already been through so much, including lawsuits and major financial challenges."
According to reports, there are no survivors from the crash. From Wired.com: "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 plane was registered to Tesla's Doug Bourn, a senior electric engineer, though it is not clear if he was aboard.
In an interview with MNN earlier last month, Elon Musk was upbeat about his company's future. “It’s exciting,” he said. “We’re building an American brand.”
Just weeks ago, the Silicon Valley-based Tesla announced that it hoped to raise $100 million in an upcoming initial public offering.
MNN will update with more details as they become available.
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