The National Transportation Safety Board released a report Thursday that says an 18-year-old Florida teen lost control of his Tesla and crashed killing him and his passenger.
The report also said the resulting fire in the electric car’s battery contributed to the tragedy. The driver had previously been cited for speeding and was traveling as fast as 116 miles per hour in a 2014 Model S and lost control on a curve of a street in Fort Lauderdale where the speed limit was 25 miles per hour.
The NTSB has reviewed other crashes that caused the highly flammable lithium-based batteries used in Teslas and other vehicles to ignite. Those batteries are difficult for firefighters to extinguish and can reignite hours or even days after a crash.
In the accident in Fort Lauderdale accident, firefighters arrived at the scene four minutes after receiving the first emergency call. They reported that the heat from the fire was intense and they could see electrical arcing, the report said.
They tried to fight the fire with 200 to 300 gallons of water and foam. Those efforts seemed futile as the battery reignited twice according to the report. Firefighters had to spray more water on the battery after it caught fire again while being loaded onto a tow truck, the report stated. The driver and a passenger in the front seat died while passenger in the rear, who wasn’t wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the car and survived with multiple fractures.
The parents of the driver have filed a lawsuit against Tesla saying the crash was survivable and cited the fire as the cause of their son’s death. The suit says that according to the Broward County medical examiner, the teen died as a result of injuries from the fire.
The full report can be found here.