Dad hails ‘miracle’ after Tesla car saves family from being crushed to death

A dad has praised Telsa founder Elon Musk for a "miracle" after his hi-tech car saved his family from near death in the chaos of storm Dennis.

Dad-of-three Laurence Sanderson had put his £86,000 Model X on autopilot while en route to Dorset on Saturday, when an oak tree crashed down and hit the front of the car.

The car's computer slammed on the emergency breaking system, sparing the car's cabin and leaving them just inches from being crushed to death, The Mirror report.

The financial consultant from from Brentwood, Essex, days he is certain his family would have died without the car's onboard tech and thanked Telsa's billionaire founder Elon Musk.

Laurence told The Mirror: '''My wife thought she was going to die when she saw the tree fall. I can't believe we're all still alive. Elon Musk has done us proud.'

"Another second and we would have been crushed as I wouldn't have been able to react in time. The car undoubtedly saved our lives. We would have been killed without it.''

Dramatic pictures taken by Laurence from the scene on the A31 at Sturminster Marshall show just how lucky his family including his children, Max, 12, Isabella, nine, and Rex, three, were.

He said: ''My wife is a bit battered and has two black eyes, a bump on the head and bruising to her chest but apart from that we escaped unscathed.

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''We were driving along and out of the corner of my eye I saw the tree coming down. The car was on Autopilot and the emergency breaking kicked in.

''It was chaos with smoke coming from the car and people shouting to get out. People from other cars came to help get the kids out. It was an amazing response.

''Power lines came down and there were live wires at the back of the car so we were getting everyone to safety while being careful of them."

In another twist of fate another Model X coming the other way was also hit by the falling oak, but the braking system kicked in again, preventing a fatal crush.

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Speaking about the other car, Laurence, said: ''In an amazing one a million chance another Tesla Model X car was also hit on the other side of the tree. The police have told me that all three are fine so eight lives have quite literally saved due to this amazing car.''

Autopilot is an advanced driver safety system, that incorporates 8 external cameras, a radar, 12 ultrasonic sensors and a powerful onboard computer.

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Safety functions of Tesla's Autopilot hardware and software system include Automatic Emergency Braking which detects cars or obstacles on the road ahead.

Construction company director Josh Whitelock, 31, from Wimborne, was driving the other Tesla with his girlfriend, Kitty McConnell and her mum, Julia as passengers when the tree came down.

'I was on Autopilot driving home when I saw a flash from the power line which lit up the tree as it fell. We stopped suddenly. There was a loud crack and then the sound of metal on metal.

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''I was expecting to turn around and see my girlfriend and her mother impaled by branches but incredibly that wasn't the case. They were both ok apart from a bit of whiplash. It was a miracle we all survived.

''I helped get them both out of the car and then checked on the other driver on the other side of the tree. When I saw the open Falcon door I couldn't believe it.

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''We were just in pure shock. Tesla has saved eight lives.

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''It just goes to show that life can be over in a split second but thanks to Tesla making amazing cars that wasn't the case this time.''

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