Tesla has had a tough run of it lately with numerous suggestions that it’s autopilot feature is just not as safe as it’s been touted. Reports out of the Netherlands today say that a 53-year old Tesla Model S driver died today after his car left the road and struck a tree. There is no reason to believe that his autopilot was engaged but the world will await news from the all-electric car maker.
Firefighters feared electrocution at site of Tesla Model S crash
When firefighters in the city of Baarn arrived at the site of the crash they found the driver dead and the Model S on fire following its high speed collision with a tree that tragically claimed the life of the driver.
The Dutch Broadcast Foundation (NOS) reported that a number of the batteries that power the Model S in question we’re thrown from the car following the high-speed impact. For a number of reasons, the firefighters were given pause when they moved in to extinguish the fire owing to the high-voltage batteries.
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“We tried first with a powder extinguisher. But there was a short circuit. In the end we covered [it] with earth from the roadside,” a spokesman for the firefighters told the NOS.
“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,” said spokesman Ronald Boer.
“There is high voltage in a car like that. If there is something wrong and it stands on all four wheels, we can work safely,” continued Boer. “It is sad that the victim was still sitting in it. But the fire department wouldn’t take that risk.”
According to RTV NH, Tesla employees were quickly on the scene to assist the firefighters in safely putting out the fire and battery packs given the violent nature of today’s crash.
“Technical Tesla employees have arrived at the scene of the accident and advise the fire department on how they can best proceed with the salvage of the body without being electrocuted,” said the news agency.
Tesla will analyze data and make a statement as soon as possible
“Tesla is starting an investigation into the accident. As soon as we have the results Tesla will share this with the public,” a Tesla spokesman told the NOS following the accident. It’s presumed that Tesla will focus its efforts on the on-board computer and cloud data.
While Tesla is analyzing the data to determine the cause of the crash, the Baarn police also plan to investigate and will do their best to determine “if this is someone who lost control over the wheel, or if there is another cause,” according to a spokesperson.
Presently, there is no reason to believe that Tesla should be blamed for this crash. Cars go off the road and strike trees due to driver error on a monthly basis.
In May of this year, Tesla saw its first crash, which killed 40-year-old Ohio resident Joshua Brown on a Florida highway, involving the company’s autopilot. However, a preliminary report didn’t blame Tesla but did point out that the driver was speeding.
“The car’s system performance data … revealed the driver was using the advanced driver assistance features Traffic-Aware Cruise Control and Autosteer lane keeping assistance,” the report states. “The car was also equipped with automatic emergency braking that is designed to automatically apply the brakes to reduce the severity of or assist in avoiding frontal collisions,” read the preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.