Exploding Airbag Kills Man Repairing 2001 Honda Accord

Exploding Airbag Kills Man Repairing 2001 Honda Accord

Japanese auto parts company Takata (TKTDF) is recalling an additional 2.7 million airbag inflators in the USA, after the company determined they could explode in the event of a crash despite the use of a chemical additive to make sure of their safety.

Honda said on Monday that the victim was using a hammer to fix a 2001 Accord parked at a home near Miami in June 2016. The car's ignition switch was on, so the air bag would have been ready in case of a crash, according to Honda. Of the approximately 29 million cars affected by the Takata recall, some with the most unsafe types of inflators are said to be Hondas and Acuras from the early 2000s, including the 2001-2002 Accord and Civic.

In the event of an inflator rupture, metal fragments could pass through the airbag cushion material, which may result in injury or death to vehicle occupants. The company has not been able to inspect the auto and is relying on police photos to make its determination, Honda spokesman Chris Martin said.

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Accounting for this latest fatality, the deaths of 17 people globally - including 12 in the U.S. - have been linked to the defective inflators, while more than 180 US-based injuries have been related to the issue.

The Honda Accord was among a group of more than 300,000 unrepaired recalled Honda vehicles equipped with inflators with a substantial risk of rupturing. The problem touched off the largest automotive recall in US history, involving 42 million vehicles and 69 million air bag inflators. The owner had received 12 recall notices.

Mr. Martin did not explain what caused the airbag to deploy, but noted that the airbags on the vehicle are activated by a deceleration sensor that is mounted between the engine and passenger compartment.

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Honda said the man died the next day from injuries. Takata inflators can explode with too much force when exposed to prolonged airborne moisture and hot-and-cold temperature cycles. Owners can go online and subscribe to Honda service manuals and find out proper procedures for many repairs.

The inflators, which were either originally used in the vehicles or used as replacements after a crash, differ from Takata's previous recalls because they contain calcium sulfate, a chemical meant to be a drying agent.

Honda says its "records indicate that the recall fix was never completed on this vehicle".

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Scott Caudill, chief operating officer of TK Holdings, Takata's United States unit, said in a court affidavit last month in its bankruptcy filing that the company "faces insurmountable claims" relating to the recalls and owes billions of dollars to automakers. "This recall now raises serious questions about the threat posed by all of Takata's ammonium nitrate-based airbags", U.S. Senator Bill Nelson said in a statement.

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