Newspaper article International New York Times

U.S. Crash Death May Be Tied to a Takata Airbag

Newspaper article International New York Times

U.S. Crash Death May Be Tied to a Takata Airbag

Article excerpt

Honda Motor is investigating a possible sixth death -- in Texas - - linked to Takata airbags that can rupture.

Honda Motor is investigating a possible sixth death linked to Takata airbags that can rupture, the automaker and lawyers said this week, as a new estimate put the number of those injured by the defective airbags as high as 64.

According to the Harris County, Tex., Sheriff's Office, Carlos Solis, 35, died on Jan. 18 after his 2002 Honda Accord struck another vehicle at the entrance to a parking lot in Houston. The driver's airbag deployed and a piece of metal struck Mr. Solis in the neck, the sheriff's report said.

Mr. Solis, a father of two, was found at the scene with no signs of life and was later declared dead. An 11-year-old passenger, identified as his cousin, was not injured.

Honda said Thursday in a statement that it had alerted United States regulators but added that it was too early to conclude the airbag was responsible.

"We are currently working with representatives of the driver's family to gain the access necessary to conduct a comprehensive investigation," Honda said.

A lawyer for the Solis family, Rob Ammons, said Thursday that he expected to inspect the car with Honda and Takata officials in the next few days.

"There's blood all over the inside of the vehicle in a very small impact crash," Mr. Ammons said.

Photos and videos of the accident posted online by The Montgomery County Police Reporter and verified by Mr. Ammons show what appears to be Mr. Solis's Accord, with damage limited to the bumper area.

If confirmed, Mr. Solis's death would be the sixth linked to airbags made by Takata, which can rupture because of inflaters that overpressurize, propelling hot metal fragments into the vehicle cabin. In the United States, Honda and nine other automakers have recalled over 18 million vehicles because of the defect since 2009. …

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