A man died after crashing a 2016 Tesla Model S into a tree in Miami, Florida yesterday afternoon, according to local news.
The car reportedly swerved through multiple lanes of traffic before hitting a median and some trees and bursting into flames – and the death may have been related to the electric carmaker’s iconic pop-out door handles malfunctioning after the wreck.
“Efforts to extract the driver were unsuccessful,” local police sergeant Mark Leone said in a statement Monday morning, as quoted by the Sun Sentinel.
Electrek reports that witnesses say the door handles of the vehicle did not open and that the numerous airbags didn’t deflate.
WATCH: A @Tesla crashes into a tree and bursts into flames in Davie on Flamingo Rd. Unfortunately the driver died on scene according to Davie Fire Rescue. We have @SanelaWPLG on scene working the story. (🎥 via Daniel Dobb) pic.twitter.com/uJCKjWOPJx
— Marcine Joseph (@MJ_Reports) February 24, 2019
“We were there,” Misty Lea Thomas, alleged witness of the accident, tweeted last night. “My husband tried to break the back window out. The airbags didn’t deflate after the crash and trapped the person inside.”
“We couldn’t even see inside the car because all of the bags filled the car,” she wrote. “The doors couldn’t be opened.”
According to the Associated Press, a local police officer also tried to break the car’s window, but couldn’t get the driver out.
“We are deeply saddened by this accident and our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy,” a Tesla spokesperson told Futurism. “We have reached out to the local authorities to offer our cooperation.
“We understand that speed is being investigated as a factor in this crash, and know that high speed collisions can result in a fire in any type of car, not just electric vehicles.”
Meanwhile, the car became increasingly engulfed in flames.
“We have a problem where the car keeps catching fire because the battery pack itself hasn’t drained yet,” Davie Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Robert Diferdinando told the Sun Sentinel.
“We’ve been in touch with their [Tesla’s] South Florida division,” he said, and the company is “giving us helpful tips and information. Right now, we’re doing literally what Tesla wants us to to.”