It Looked Like a Stabbing, but Takata Air Bag Was the Killer

by Hiroko Tabuchi and Christopher Jensen, The New York Times

ORLANDO, Fla. — Hien Tran lay dying in intensive care this month after a car accident, as detectives searched for clues about the apparent stab wounds in her neck.

An unlikely breakthrough arrived in the mail a week after she died from her injuries. It was a letter from Honda urging her to get her red Accord fixed, because of faulty air bags that could explode.

“The air bag,” said Tina Tran, the victim’s twin sister. “They said it was the air bag.”

Ms. Tran became at least the third death associated with the mushrooming recalls of vehicles containing defective air bags made by Takata, a Japanese auto supplier. More than 14 million vehicles from 11 automakers that contain the air bags have been recalled worldwide.

When Ms. Tran crashed her car, the air bag, instead of protecting her, appeared to have exploded and sent shrapnel flying into her neck, the Orange County sheriff’s office said. On Monday, in an unusual warning, federal safety regulators urged the owners of more than five million vehicles to “act immediately” to get the air bags fixed.

“We want to make sure that everyone out there — and we’ve got millions of vehicles involved — is getting engaged and is getting their vehicles fixed to protect themselves and their families,” said David J. Friedman, deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Related New York Times article: Few Answers After an Alert on Takata Air Bags

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