Tesla Investigating Fatal Model S Fire in The Netherlands
The driver was reportedly dead before first responders arrived on the scene.
On Wednesday morning, a driver in the Netherlands was killed when his Tesla Model S hit a tree and caught fire, mangling the car badly enough that first responders were forced to seek help from Tesla technicians in order to safely remove the deceased man from the wreck.
According to Elektrek, a 53-year-old was driving his Tesla Model S through the city of Baarn in the Netherlands when the car left the road, striking a tree and catching fire, killing the driver before emergency personnel reached the scene. After arriving at the incident, the firefighters were unsure of how to go about entering the vehicle safely to pull the deceased from the wreckage due to fears of electrocution, which was why Tesla employees were requested for assistance, RTV.NH reports.
The responding fire department claims that in most circumstances, entering an electric car that has been involved in an accident is not an issue. Because of the severely mangled state of this Model S, however, the first responders were unsure of the best way to take action.
“If the car was on four wheels, the fire brigade normally has no difficulty to turn off the batteries. However, this car is completely destroyed, hampering the recovery. In this situation, you never know what can happen," a spokesperson for the fire department said, according to Electrek.
It is currently unclear what may have caused the incident. Both Tesla and police are investigating the crash.
"Technical personnel are on the scene, and we are working with the authorities to establish the facts of the incident and offer our full cooperation. We are deeply saddened to hear that this accident involved a fatality. We will share our findings as soon as possible following the investigation," a Tesla spokesperson told The Drive.
UPDATE: 9:00am, September 9th, 2016: Tesla has issued a follow-up statement to The Drive:
"We are working with the authorities to establish the facts of the incident and offer our full cooperation. Thus far, we can confirm from the car’s logs that Autopilot was not engaged at any time during the drive cycle and that, consistent with the damage that was observed after the vehicle struck the tree, the vehicle was being driven more than 155 kph."