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Teen Should Have Survived Crash. The Airbag Killed Her

Huma Hanif is the 10th to die in the US at hands of Takata airbag
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2016 3:33 AM CDT
Updated Apr 11, 2016 7:00 AM CDT
Teen Should Have Survived Crash. The Airbag Killed Her
A deputy who investigated the crash site displays part of a defective airbag.   (Emily Foxhall/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Huma Hanif should have survived a March 31 fender bender in Fort Bend County, Texas, authorities say. Instead, the 17-year-old was killed when the driver's-side airbag in her 2002 Honda Civic exploded and, police say, "fired a sharp piece of jagged metal into her throat at point-blank range," KPRC reports. Huma died within seconds after her jugular vein and carotid artery were severed, Sheriff Troy Nehls says, adding "there is no doubt" that the Takata airbag in her vehicle failed. A bystander who came to Huma's aid says the damage to the car wasn't that bad, but there was a gash in her neck, which he tried to cover. "I feel like there was not a whole lot I could do," he says. Huma, who aspired to become a nurse, is the 10th person in the US to die after a Takata airbag's inflator broke apart and sprayed shrapnel into a vehicle's cabin, CBS New York reports. More than 100 people have been injured.

A recall last year included some 29 million cars by many manufacturers, but only a quarter of those have been repaired. And that doesn't always seem to be the fault of vehicle owners. One Long Island woman tells CBS that she received a recall notice that read in part, "At the present time, we do not have parts available." Honda says Huma's Civic was part of the recall and that the company sent notices to multiple people who had owned the car, "including the current registered owner." The repair, however, was never completed. Huma's family tells CBS she didn't know about the recall. During a press conference, her brother urged vehicle owners to find out whether they may have a defective airbag and, if they do, to "get it fixed before you lose a loved one." (This young woman was injured in a bizarre car accident.)

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