Exploding Airbag Kills Man Repairing 2001 Honda Accord

Posted July 12, 2017

Another person has been killed by an exploding Takata air bag inflator, but this death wasn't the result of a crash.

Honda says the man died in June 2016 when the airbag exploded, but they were only recently informed of the incident. Ramon V. Kuffo, 88, who did not own the vehicle but had taken apart the center console with the ignition switch on, died of head trauma a day after a neighbor found him bleeding from the face in the passenger seat of the auto parked in his yard near Miami, Fla., reports the Detroit News.

Takata Corp.is expanding its recall to include another 2.7 million air bag inflators in the United States that may be prone to rupturing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced Tuesday. The company has not been able to inspect the vehicle and is relying on police photos to make its determination, Honda spokesman Chris Martin said.

At least 17 deaths and 180 injuries worldwide are now linked to the issue.

Honda stressed Monday that it has enough replacement inflators to fix every Honda and Acura with a recalled Takata airbag (particularly the Alphas) - for free.

The Associated Press quoted Honda spokesman Chris Martin as having "noted that there is a deceleration sensor that activates the air bags mounted on the wall between the engine and passenger compartment".

The problem touched off the largest automotive recall in USA history involving up to 69 million inflators and 42 million vehicles.

Takata notes [PDF] that while it is unaware of any ruptured inflators that use a desiccant in vehicles on the road or in lab testing, analysis of the inflators show a pattern of propellant density reduction over time.

Current and former owners of the specific Accord involved were mailed 12 safety notices over a seven-year period, but the company said "records indicate that the recall fix was never completed on this vehicle".

The 2001 Accord has one of the most unsafe types of Takata driver's side air bag inflators.

According to Honda, Alpha inflators can have as high as a 50-50 chance of exploding and injuring an occupant. The owner had received 12 recall notices.

Last month, Takata filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States and Japan following call backs for over 100 million faulty airbags, with global liabilities expected to reach up to $US10 billion ($A13.2 billion). The incident occurred in Hialeah, Florida. Owners can go online and subscribe to Honda service manuals and find out proper procedures for many repairs.

Facing billions of dollars in losses and court settlements, Takata declared bankruptcy last month.