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Three Tesla employees die in plane crash

'This is a tragic day for us,' Tesla CEO Elon Musk says

Tesla Motors of Palo Alto confirmed Wednesday that three of its employees were killed in a small-plane crash in East Palo Alto.

"Tesla is a small, tightly knit company, and this is a tragic day for us," said Elon Musk, CEO of the electric-vehicle manufacturer.

He declined to name the employees early this afternoon, saying that the company was working with authorities to notify the families.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with them," Musk said.

Sources close to the company identified the three men as Doug Bourn, a senior electrical engineer; Andrew Graham, an engineer; and Brian Finn, a senior manager.

Bourn, 56, the pilot and owner of the plane, had filed a flight plan indicating the trio was headed for Hawthorne Municipal Airport in Los Angeles County, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Fog limited visibility to only one-eighth of a mile, but the flight plan indicated the plane would be on instrument takeoff, and records indicate the instruments were in use, investigators said.

Bourn graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He worked for IDEO of Palo Alto as a senior engineer from 1995 to 2005, his former employer confirmed.

"We are all deeply saddened, but we can't comment beyond that," an IDEO official said this morning.

Finn had worked for Tesla for a year and 8 months, according to his profile on LinkedIn.com. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Northern Illinois University in 1990 and 1992, respectively. He previously worked for Volkswagen Electronics and Volkswagen of America.

He enjoyed gardening, cycling, skiing and playing the guitar, his profile stated.

Ingram, a 2001 Harvey Mudd College graduate, previously worked for Dolby Laboratories and Christie, Parker and Hale.

The Cessna 310R crashed shortly before 8 a.m. Wednesday in East Palo Alto. It took off from the Palo Alto Airport but took a sudden left turn on ascent.

Its wing clipped a power line, hit a PG&E tower and fell into a home, setting the house on fire, according to officials. Its engine and landing gear crashed into an adjacent home, and its fuselage came to rest on a sidewalk after hitting a retaining wall and plowing into two cars, which caught on fire.

No one on the ground was killed, but the owner of the preschool that the wing had hit was taken to the hospital on account of the stress, witnesses said.

■ Go to www.paweekly.com for more stories, plus photos and videos, from the crash.

-- Palo Alto Weekly staff

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