Honda Confirms Ninth Death Related To Takata Airbags

Jan 01, 2016 12:05 PM EST | John Nassivera

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Honda confirmed Thursday that a Takata airbag inflator ruptured in a crash of a Honda Accord that led to the death of a teenager in July, which is the ninth death in the world connected to the faulty airbags.

U.S. auto safety authorities first reported the fatality last week, which was the eighth in the U.S. and the first since April linked to the Japanese airbag manufacturer's inflators, according to Reuters. These airbags present a safety issue due to their tendency to explode with too much force and send metal shrapnel flying at the driver and passengers.

"American Honda has confirmed that the Takata driver's front airbag inflator ruptured in the crash of a 2001 Honda Accord Coupe on July 22, 2015 near Pittsburgh," Honda said in a statement, USA Today reported. "Injuries related to this airbag inflator rupture likely resulted in the tragic death of the underage driver."

The Japan-based automaker worked with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to inspect the crash. The unidentified driver was hospitalized after a Takata airbag ruptured and died several days later.

The confirmation also follows a week after a 13-year-old boy was reported to have been in a car crash on July 22, with sources familiar with the matter saying that he took the keys without permission from a parent and got behind the wheel, Reuters noted. Pennsylvania State Police had reported an incident that involved a 13-year-old boy being the sole person in a 2001 Honda Accord that crashed early on the same day.

In addition to the eight deaths in the U.S. involving faulty Takata airbags in Hondas, the death of a pregnant woman in the same vehicle and with the same airbags was reported in Malaysia.

"This young person's death is tragic, and it underscores why we are continuing to work so hard to get these defective inflators off the road," NHTSA spokesman Gordon Trowbridge said when the boy's death was announced in December, according to USA Today.

The airbag dilemma has taken a huge toll on Takata, which had to recall at least 23 million ammonium-nitrate inflators in 19 million vehicles as a result and saw Toyota and Nissan ditch it as their airbag supplier. The recalls involved 11 automakers.

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