Three Tesla executives, including a "high-ranking" one, reportedly perished in a plane crash this morning. The crash took out power in a part of Palo Alto, Calif. and rained debris down on a neighborhood.  (Source: Jalopnik)
Loss is both tragic and a major blow for the enterprising electric vehicle maker

Three Tesla executives took off in a twin-engine Cessna piloted by a "high-ranking official at Tesla" this morning and crashed into a Palo Alto, California neighborhood, killing both the pilot and passengers.

According to the 
San Francisco Chronicle  the plane was registered to Doug Bourn, a senior electrical engineer for Tesla Motors.  A spokesperson for Tesla Motors acknowledged that three Tesla executives had died in a crash, but would not release the names of the passengers.

The offers details of the crash, writing:

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.

The plane took off from a small airport, but quickly ran into trouble and struck power lines, which caused it to explode.  It is thought that those aboard likely perished in the explosion.  The impact caused the area to lose power and rained debris down on a Palo Alto neighborhood.

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk was not aboard the plane
"Three Tesla employees were on board a plane that crashed in East Palo Alto early this morning, said Musk in a statement on Tesla's website. “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."

More details are likely to be emerging soon, but its clear that the tragic incident will be a blow to the company, which is looking to wrap up a successful Roadster production run and transition to selling the Model S, a more accessibly priced luxury electric vehicle.  Tesla was hoping to also launch an intial public offering of stock sometime late this year.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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