NTSB to investigate Tesla crash that killed 2 Florida students

By Susan McFarland  |  May 10, 2018 at 11:25 AM
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May 10 (UPI) -- The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a Tesla crash in Florida this week that killed two high school students -- the second fatal accident involving a Tesla in the past six weeks.

Barrett Riley, 18, and Edgar Monserratt, 18, died in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday when the 2014 Tesla Model S they were riding in struck a wall, igniting the car.

A preliminary investigation shows the car was not on autopilot at the time of the crash.

The NTSB, which has a history of investigating emerging technology, said its investigation is focused on the car's electric battery.

Tesla said late Wednesday it had not retrieved electronic logs from the vehicle, but the high rate of speed indicated the autopilot feature was not engaged.

"Our thoughts are with the families and friends affected by this tragedy. The family who owned the car has been a close friend of Tesla for many years," a Tesla representative said in an email to UPI Thursday. "This hits us particularly hard.

"Serious high-speed collisions can result in a fire, regardless of the type of car. Tesla's billions of miles of actual driving data shows that a gas car in the United States is five times more likely to experience a fire than a Tesla vehicle."

The deadly crash is the second in six weeks involving a Tesla that's led to a NTSB investigation.

The agency examined a California crash in March to see whether the auto pilot was activated. Tesla said a few days later the car had been in autonomous mode when it crashed.

One person died in that crash.

Tesla said a failure to repair a highway safety barrier contributed to the accident.

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