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Silicon Valley plane crash kills 3 Tesla employees

Massive power outage hits Facebook, HP

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A small plane crashed into a residential neighborhood in Silicon Valley on Wednesday, killing the pilot and two passengers — all employees of Tesla Motors — and triggering a widespread electricity outage that cut power to thousands of homes as well as companies like Hewlett-Packard and Facebook.

Amidst a shroud of early-morning fog, the twin-engine Cessna 310 brought down a high tension transmission tower at about 8 am in East Palo Alto, California, shortly after takeoff from Palo Alto Airport, then broke apart in its descent, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

A burning wing slammed into a home where a day care center operated, landing gear crashed into a garage, an engine smashed into a carport, and the fuselage came to a halt in the middle of the street, the publication reports. The crash set two homes and several vehicles on fire.

Miraculously, no one on the ground was killed or injured.

Authorities will formally identify the three who died aboard the plane at a new conference at noon today. An investigator with the US National Transportation Safety Board told the San Jose Mercury News that it is too early in the investigation to say whether the plane stuck power lines or the transmission tower.

The destruction left over 28,000 Palo Alto residents and businesses without power for about 10 hours

The tragedy came three weeks after the San Carlos, California-based Tesla Motors filed plans to sell its stock to the public for the first time with the goal of raising $100m. Tesla's electric-powered Roadster is the only product the fledgling automaker produces — with fewer than 1,000 models delivered at the start of 2010. The company's next vehicle, the Model S electric car, is set to be released into North America in 2011.

Additional details and breaking updates on the crash can be found on the Mercury News website. ®

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