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Truck carrying Takata airbag materials crashes and explodes in Texas, killing one

30 August 2016

A truck transporting Takata Corp airbag propellant material crashed and exploded near Quemado in Texas, killing one woman and injuring four other people, the company said on August 29. Takata airbags are involved in one of the largest recalls in history, having been linked to the deaths of at least 14 people and more than 150 injuries.

Stock image
Stock image

Prolonged exposure of defective Takata inflators to hot and humid conditions has been found to cause air bags to explode with excessive force, spraying shrapnel into passenger compartments. More than 100 million vehicles worldwide are involved in the recall programme to replace Takata inflators, mostly in the United States and mostly involving Honda cars.

Takata said the truck, operated by a subcontractor, was travelling from a Takata plant in Moses Lake, Washington, to a warehouse in Texas early on August 22 when the accident occurred. The driver of the tractor-trailer "failed to negotiate" a curve on a highway and crashed near a house, according to a preliminary statement from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

"The trailer (carrying air bag detonators and blasting agent) exploded and engulfed in flames, causing fire to the home and a passing vehicle."

The DPS said 67-year-old Lucila Robles was killed. Local media said she was inside the house near where the explosion took place. The agency said the house caught fire after the accident.
The DPS was investigating the incident, the statement said.

A Takata spokesman in the United States said the company had reported the incident to U.S. safety regulators and was cooperating with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The spokesman said the propellant in the truck contained ammonium nitrate, a volatile chemical compound.

The force of the explosion damaged about 10 nearby homes, breaking windows and dislodging doors from their hinges, media reports said, with rubble and truck parts found almost a mile from the site of the blast.

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