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Takata says truck carrying airbag inflators exploded; 1 dead, 4 injured

30 Août 2016 - Automotive News

A truck transporting Takata Corp. airbag inflators exploded

A truck transporting Takata Corp. airbag inflators and propellants that are at the center of a global recall exploded in Texas last week, resulting in one death and four injuries, the embattled auto parts supplier said today.

The truck operated by a subcontractor was travelling to a Takata plant in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Monday, Aug. 22, when the accident occurred, causing an explosion which incinerated one home, local media reported.

A Takata spokesman in Tokyo was unable to confirm the date and location of the accident, but said the truck was carrying airbag inflators and propellants containing ammonium nitrate, the volatile chemical compound linked to the supplier's exploding airbags, and that the blast killed one woman.

"Takata immediately deployed personnel to the site and has been working closely with the subcontractor and the appropriate authorities to investigate this incident," the company said in a statement.

"Takata has strict safety procedures relating to the transportation of its products that meet or exceed all regulatory requirements," the company said. "Our thoughts are with the family of the woman who died as a result of this accident, and with the four people injured."

The spokesman said Takata has a warehouse in Eagle Pass that stocks inflators manufactured across the U.S.-Mexico border at its plant in Monclova, which has been confirmed as one of the sources of its defective airbags.

The airbags have been linked to the deaths of at least 14 people and have sparked the global auto industry's biggest-ever recall. Prolonged exposure of the inflators to hot conditions can cause airbags to explode with excessive force, spraying shrapnel into passenger compartments.

More than 100 million vehicles worldwide have been slated for recall to replace Takata inflators, which in addition to the deaths, are linked to more than 150 injuries - mostly in the United States and involving Honda Motor Co. cars.

Takata is looking for a financial sponsor to help overhaul its business and carry ballooning costs as it faces potentially billions of dollars worth of liabilities over the sometimes deadly defects in its inflators.

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