Tesla CEO Elon Musk and executive claim killed recruiter wasn't using advanced driver-assistance software

The Tesla CEO Elon Musk and executive Rohan Patel claimed on Wednesday that the deceased Tesla employee Hans von Ohain, was not using the company's Full Self-Driving (FSD) software at the time of the fiery incident. This comes as a response to a Washington Post report that claimed von Ohain was using the feature when his car crashed into a tree and exploded into flames. The incident would have been the first documented fatality linked to FSD.

Patel, the company's policy chief, specifically claimed that the FSD beta software was not downloaded onto the car. Musk additionally stated "the accident probably would not have happened if FSD had been engaged."

This marks the first time Tesla officials publicly discussed the crash. Neither Musk nor the company had responded to multiple requests for comment over the past few weeks.

Tesla is uniquely positioned to confirm to the public and regulators which software the car was running at the time of the incident. Evidence suggests von Ohain, a Tesla recruiter, had purchased a car with FSD capabilities and was using the feature at the time of the incident.

The previous reporting by the Washington Post showed that von Ohain's purchase order showed the car was equipped with enhanced features available only to Tesla customers who purchase FSD, such as the ability to recognize and react to stop signs and traffic lights.

The public battle between Musk and the Washington Post comes as the company faces increased scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers regarding the safety of its driver-assistance systems.

It remains to be seen whether this response from Musk will alleviate concerns or further raise suspicions regarding the company's claims about the capabilities and safety of its FSD software.