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 employees 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 2: Local news video from Mercury News posted after the jump.

*UPDATE 3: 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.
UPDATE 4: Green Car Advisor says the employees were not executives, but "mid-level engineers." We've changed the headline to reflect this.

[Source: KTVU San Francicso]

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