Fatal Airbag Explosion Triggered by a Hammer

Man killed in Florida while working on Honda Accord
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2017 6:47 AM CDT
Exploding Takata Airbag Blamed for 12th US Death
An exploded air bag is seen in Slim River, Malaysia.   (AP Photo/Lim Huey Teng)

Another person has died as a result of an exploding Takata airbag, though in this case the car involved wasn't even in a crash. Honda says it recently learned about an incident on June 18, 2016, in which a man was using a hammer to make repairs on a 2001 Honda Accord when the airbag inflator activated and ruptured, sending metal fragments flying. 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 car parked in his yard near Miami, Fla., reports the Detroit News. The airbag had deployed and "the rupture most likely contributed to his death," says a Honda rep.

Kuffo's death is the 12th in the US and 17th worldwide to be blamed on the faulty inflators, which have injured 180 in the US. Honda—which only learned of the incident with a legal claim in March, per the New York Times—notes the Accord had one of Takata's most dangerous inflators with a reported 50% chance of it rupturing in a crash. But though owners of the car were sent 12 recall notices over seven years, "our records indicate that the recall repair was never completed," Honda says. Almost 70 million airbags in 42 million vehicles have now been recalled due to the faulty inflators. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says "it's essential to safety that high-risk inflators are replaced immediately." (Takata has filed for bankruptcy.)

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