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UPDATED: A small plane carrying three Tesla Motors employees crashed in East Palo Alto this morning, killing the pilot and both passengers, Tesla has confirmed. Chief executive Elon Musk was not on the plane. Those are the facts that have been confirmed in the hours since the twin-engine Cessna 310 crashed (and caused a major power outage in the area), shortly after its takeoff in foggy conditions, en route to Southern California.
Musk released a statement on the Tesla web site confirming, “Three Tesla employees were on board a plane that crashed in East Palo Alto early this morning. 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.”
Sources tell Business Insider that chief technology officer JB Straubel was not on the plane. And San Jose Mercury News reporters on the scene in East Palo Alto today write that the Cessna was registered to Air Unique, Inc., a business owned by Tesla senior electrical engineer Doug Bourn that has had its business license suspended.
Our condolences go out to the Tesla team and the families and friends of those three individuals. We will write an update when we learn the victims’ names from Tesla. For now, former Tesla VP Darryl Siry’s comment on the reports this morning (via Twitter) seems worth repeating: “Horrible news this morning about old friends on the plane crash in Palo Alto puts * everything * else in perspective.”
Update: The victims in Wednesday’s crash have been identified as senior electrical engineer Doug Bourn, engineer Andrew Ingram, and senior manager Brian Finn. Palo Alto Online News published the names Wednesday evening, and the San Mateo County coroner is scheduled to hold a press conference Thursday at noon in East Palo Alto officially identifying the three men.