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Wed 28 Mar 2018 08:47 AM

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US investigating fatal Tesla crash in California

Vehicle caught fire before two other approaching cars hit it

US investigating fatal Tesla crash in California

US federal investigators said Tuesday they were examining a fatal crash last week involving a Tesla electric automobile in California.

The California Highway Patrol reported that a 38-year-old man died Friday after his 2017 Tesla Model X collided with a highway barrier near the town of Mountain View, according to The San Jose Mercury News.

The vehicle caught fire before two other approaching cars hit it.

Tesla dove on Wall Street following the news, with shares closing down 8.2 percent.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday two investigators had begun a field probe.

"Unclear if automated control system was active at the time of the crash," the agency said on Twitter.

"Issues examined include: post-crash fire, steps to make vehicle safe for removal from scene."

Tesla said Tuesday it was cooperating with the investigation.

"We have been deeply saddened by this accident and we have offered our full cooperation to the authorities as we work to establish the facts of the accident," a spokesman said.

In January of last year, the US Transportation Department closed an investigation into the fatal 2016 crash in Florida of a Tesla on autopilot, finding that no "safety-related defect" had caused that accident.

Friday's fatal Tesla crash came the same week a collision involving an autonomous Uber vehicle in Arizona killed a pedestrian and caused that company to halt its self-driving car program.

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