Tesla driver killed in high-speed Florida crash and fire

A Tesla Model 3 car leaves a cargo vessel at a port in Shanghai, China, on February 22, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 26 February 2019

Tesla driver killed in high-speed Florida crash and fire

  • Witnesses: The car left the road for an unknown reason and the driver over-corrected and the car crashed
  • Fire officers said the car's battery reignited twice at a salvage yard where it was towed

DAVIE, Florida: The driver of a Tesla Model S was killed when his car crashed near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and erupted in flames.
Witnesses told police in Davie, Florida, that the car was traveling 75-to-90 miles per hour (120-to-145 kilometers per hour) Sunday afternoon when it left the road for an unknown reason. The driver over-corrected and the car slid across three lanes and into some trees in the median.
A police officer arrived almost immediately after the crash but wasn’t able to rescue the driver before the car was engulfed in flames. Officers identified the driver as Omar Awan. The crash remains under investigation.
Tesla said in a statement that it was deeply saddened by the crash and is cooperating with police. “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,” the company said.
The Tesla’s battery reignited twice on Monday morning at a salvage yard where it was towed, Davie Fire Marshal Robert Taylor said.
Tesla said in a statement that it posts language on its website for first responders saying that fires can take up to 24 hours to extinguish and that they should consider letting the battery burn while protecting exposures to buildings.
Last year the National Transportation Safety Board opened investigations into two Tesla fires in California, one in West Hollywood and the other near Mountain View.
A spokesman for the NTSB said Monday that it is not investigating the Davie crash.


Panama hospitals on verge of collapse as virus cases surge

Updated 42 sec ago

Panama hospitals on verge of collapse as virus cases surge

  • With a population of four million, Panama has gone from 200 cases a day to 1,100 over the last few weeks
  • Authorities estimate that of every 100 people infected, 20 end up in hospital

PANAMA CITY: Hospitals in Panama are on the brink of collapse as coronavirus cases spike in the Central American country worst hit by the pandemic, where doctors are already exhausted.
With a population of four million, Panama has gone from 200 cases a day to 1,100 over the last few weeks.
“Our daily number of infected patients has been increasing in a sustained way to the point of passing 1,000 cases,” David Villalobos, head of the intensive care unit at the Arnulfo Arias Madrid Hospital in Panama City, told AFP.
“There are no hospitals that could sustain such a number,” he said.
The sharp increase has forced authorities to adapt existing hospitals and look for new spaces, like convention centers, to boost a health system with a range of problems including long waiting lists.
“The fear of the collapse of the public system in our country is evident if the number of cases remains the same,” Domingo Moreno, coordinator of a coalition of health care workers’ unions, told AFP.
“In the next two weeks we probably won’t have anywhere to put beds.”
With 42,000 cases and 839 deaths, Panama has the worst official tally of coronavirus infections in the region.

According to official figures, close to 20,000 people are in isolation at home or in hotels. Another 1,000 are receiving hospital treatment, 159 of whom are in intensive care.
Authorities estimate that of every 100 people infected, 20 end up in hospital — meaning that at the current rate, 200 people a day are being admitted to hospital, and 50 to intensive care.
“It’s exhausting, sometimes we have to go back at night for admissions. But here we are,” Giselle Sanchez, a doctor caring for the most serious COVID-19 patients, told AFP.
Doctors and nurses around the country have protested in recent weeks demanding medical supplies and protective equipment.
“There’s fear of infection, of being in a situation that puts your life at risk. This is a war of attrition,” said Moreno.
President Laurentino Cortizo recently pledged to carry out 4,000 tests a day to find and isolate those infected.
But some people, like Silda Idalia Rios, are afraid of taking the test because of rumors circulating about the pandemic.
The virus “has come to attack us,” she told AFP, conceding that “you need to accept that you have to take a test to see if it’s positive.”
Health Minister Francisco Sucre said he was aware of a significant group of people continuing to go out despite knowing they had contracted COVID-19, making it harder to get the outbreak under control.
“We are directly dependent on what the people can do or prevent in the street. The people really need to understand that we’re going to collapse,” said Malena Urrutia, from the COVID-19 coordination team at the Arnulfo Arias Madrid Hospital.
Cortizo said: “As president I would like to tell you that it’s over, but it isn’t. We still don’t have a vaccine. The battle goes on.”