• Feb 17th 2010 at 2:01PM
  • 38
A small, twin-engined Cessna crashed this morning in an East Palo Alto neighborhood, killing all three passengers on board. According to reports, the plane was owned by Doug Bourn, a senior electrical engineer for Tesla Motors, and all three occupants were high-ranking officials at the electric car company. Authorities have not yet named the deceased.

"[The plane] hit a power line. Then it exploded... then half hit the next door neighbor's house and the other half hit across the street. We were right in the road," said neighborhood resident Heather Starnes. No injuries were reported on the ground, though a number of homes were damaged, including one currently being used as a daycare facility.

The National Weather Service had issued a dense fog advisory for the Bay Area earlier in the morning that was in effect until 10 a.m. A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the "decision [to take off] would have been up to the pilot." We'll update with an official comment from Tesla when we hear back.

*UPDATE: Fox News reports Elon Musk was not on the plane (via Twitter).

*UPDATE: Local news video from Mercury News posted after the jump.

*UPDATE: Power outages reported in Palo Alto and nearby areas, affecting residences and businesses, including Facebook offices.

*UPDATE: We've received a comment from Tesla CEO Elon Musk:
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.
[Source: KTVU San Francicso]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      The report says a small Cessna . Was it a jet ? A small Cessna would be a Cessna piston engine airplane . Cessna also build turboprops and medium size and trans continental jets . As for the pilot's qualifications I am sure a company like Telsa would hire an ATP licensed pilot.
      Ancient Aviator
      • 5 Years Ago
      RIP :(
      • 5 Years Ago
      Very sad for their families, friends and colleagues.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That is terribly saddening. My thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of the employees lost. Glad that the people on the ground, especially in the daycare, were safe though.
      • 5 Years Ago

      And here we were criticizing mr. Musk for taking a private jet.
        • 5 Years Ago
        By the way, Tesla has about 9 executives, one which is overseas..
        So... that's really bad.
      • 5 Years Ago
      damn... >.> pretty bad to start the day off.. this is sad and shocking
      • 5 Years Ago
      My prayers and condolences to the families of the deceased.
      • 5 Years Ago
      No, the irony of a senior electrical engineer of an electric car company hitting power lines with his plane, causing his and his colleagues deaths, is not lost... but deference to the deceased is to focus on the tragic loss of life, first.

      So I also chime in with general condolences to the families of the deceased.

      Later on, we can discuss the illustration of the safety issues of high voltage and high amperage electrical systems in private transportation vehicles.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Most companies have rules for seniour executives travelling together.

      My company doesn't allow more than 3 certain level executives in the same vessel (car / train / plane/ helicopter)

      Ofcourse the rules get laxed as you move down the ladder, eg:

      Only 5 engineers in one vessel.

      • 5 Years Ago
      One wouldn't think that the spelling of a title would matter in a situation like this.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Dude, definitely not the time for a joke.

      Anyway, what a tragedy. This sucks.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Re, Update - Sorry, Mr. Eberhard.
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