Chinese electric carmaker Nio says that two people were killed when one of its vehicles fell from the third floor of its headquarters in Shanghai.
One staff member and a person from a partner company died in the crash, the BBC reports. The incident took place on Wednesday at about 17:20 local time, the firm said. The people who died were inside the vehicle as it fell from the building.
Nio says it immediately started an investigation into the incident in co-operation with government officials.
The third-storey area from where the car fell has been described as a showroom, a testing facility, or a car park.
“Our company has collaborated with public security department to launch the investigation and analysis of the cause of the accident. Based on the analysis of the situation at the scene, we can initially confirm that this was an accident (not caused by the vehicle),” the company said in a statement.
“We feel very sad about this accident, and would like to express our deepest condolences to our colleague and partner employee who lost their lives. A team has been set up to help the families.”
Nio’s initial statement on Weibo attracted more than 1,000 comments within half an hour, but was then taken down. A “not related to the vehicle itself” comment in the original company statement triggered many angry responses from social media users.
The car maker posted a revised version of the statement with “not caused by the vehicle” in brackets, apparently to de-emphasise that part of the sentence.
Nio is at the forefront of China’s homegrown drive to dominate the electric vehicle industry. It has staked a lot on interchangeable batteries in its cars as a way to overcome customer concerns about frequent charging.
The company is a rival to Elon Musk’s U.S.-based electric car maker Tesla, which has a manufacturing plant in Shanghai.