The National Transportation Safety Board is going to investigate a deadly Tesla crash and fire that killed two high school students in Florida, according to the agency.
Senior students Barrett Riley and Edgar Monserratt were traveling near an area known by many as “dead man’s curve” in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday night. That is when their all-electric Tesla Model S crashed into a wall and immediately burst into flames, authorities said.
According to witnesses at the scene, The 18-year-old boys died while trapped inside the burning vehicle. One onlooker recalled the tragic incident, saying he saw the victims moving and struggling to escape from the flames, but no one could help them break free.
Another passenger in the backseat of the car, identified as 18-year-old Alexander Berry, was thrown from the car and was later taken to the hospital with undisclosed injuries, according to WPLG-TV.
Speed could have been a factor in the crash, according to a statement from the NTSB on Wednesday. Its investigation into this accident will mostly focus on the emergency response in relation to the electric vehicle battery fire, the agency said, also adding that it has plans to have a team of four investigators in South Florida by Wednesday night.
“The goal of these investigations is to understand the impact of these emerging transportation technologies when they are part of a transportation accident,” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said in a statement Wednesday.
Tesla released a statement following the incident, saying it was, “working to establish the facts of the incident” and offered its “full cooperation” to local authorities. They also established that the car’s autopilot feature was not engaged at the time.
Both teenagers were students at Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, and were a few weeks away from graduation.