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April 1, 2019

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Takata air bags claim 24th life worldwide

An Arizona man killed by an exploding Takata air bag inflator brings the worldwide death toll to at least 24.

Armando V. Ortega, 55, of Yuma, died on June 11, 2018, three days after his 2002 Honda Civic was involved in a crash near Phoenix, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Honda said in a statement that the Civic driver was hit by metal fragments and injured. He later died at a hospital.

The death, which wasn’t reported to a federal agency until this month, is the 16th in the US caused by the air bags, which can explode with too much force and hurl debris into drivers and passengers.

Seven people have been killed in Malaysia and one in Australia.

More than 200 people also have been hurt by the inflators, which have caused the largest series of automotive recalls in US history involving with as many as 70 million inflators to be recalled by the end of next year. About 100 million inflators are to be recalled worldwide.

“This is a critical reminder of the serious nature of the Takata airbag recall and serves as an important call to action,” NHTSA said in a statement on Friday.

Takata used ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate the bags. But it can deteriorate due to high temperatures and humidity and explode too forcefully, spewing metal fragments. The deaths and recalls forced Takata into bankruptcy with its assets purchased by a company owned by a Chinese investment firm.


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