The CEO of a massive shipping company died when she accidentally backed her Tesla into a pond on her Texas property — a tragedy that already seems inextricably linked to the vehicle's unusual and increasingly controversial features.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, the late Angela Chao, who was CEO of the Chinese shipping firm Foremost Group and the youngest sister of Sen. Mitch McConnell's wife Elaine, experienced a harrowing demise that her friends witnessed as her Tesla Model X SUV sunk slowly into a small stock pond.

The unfortunate incident occurred in February's Lunar New Year, the report noted, when the 50-year-old Chao and a bevy of her female friends were enjoying a lavish retreat at her Texas ranch. Because it had been a cold and dark night in the Austin area, the shipping magnate decided to make the short drive from her property's guest house to her main home when she accidentally put the car in reverse instead of drive — a mistake she'd made before, apparently.

Almost immediately upon making that ill-fated miscalculation, Chao called her friends who were just steps away, asking them if they could help her as her car began swiftly to sink. One jumped into the pond to try to save her friend. Ultimately, despite calling paramedics and other emergency officials, it took hours to get the car, with the CEO in it, out of the pond.

According to experts, you have roughly 30-60 seconds to safely get out of a car when it starts sinking. With automatic windows like those used by Tesla and most other vehicle manufacturers, there are only a few seconds to push the button and roll down the windows before the water gets too high. After that, the only way to get out is to break the glass — and because Tesla uses laminated glass, one of the most durable types on the market, breaking it under the pressure of water would have been nearly impossible.

Because it took hours to retrieve both the car from the water and Chao from the vehicle, she was ruled dead on arrival and no autopsy was performed, the WSJ reported. Despite the circumstances, however, law enforcement in Blanco County where the CEO lived with her husband, venture capitalist Jim Breyer, are still investigating her death as a criminal matter.

As such, conspiracy theories have cropped up in the long month since Chao's death, including some who claim that there could have been foul play based on her status as CEO of a shipping conglomerate — especially from alleged bad actors in China, where her parents were from.

"Does the Blanco County Sheriff have the technical capacity to investigate the Tesla Logs to determine if the car was tampered with or even hacked?" Texas-based hedge fund manager and apparent China-hater Kyle Bass tweeted on March 1. "This case continues to become more and more suspicious."

Despite the conspiratorial attention, which has per the WSJ chagrined Chao's grieving family, it appears almost certain that her death was a tragic accident — and given that researchers say more than 400 people in North America die in vehicle submersions per year, it's definitely not without precedent.

More on Tesla accidents: Tesla Employee Who Loved Elon Musk Reportedly Killed by Full Self-Driving

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