Woman in fatal Malaysia air-bag crash was pregnant, Honda says

-A +A

(Nov 14): The woman in the first known fatal crash tied to faulty Takata Corp. air bags outside the U.S. was pregnant and her fetus died too, according to the car’s maker.

The July 27 accident in Malaysia involved a 2003 Honda City subcompact that was manufactured in Thailand, while the air bag was made in a Takata plant in Georgia, according to Jordhatt Johan, head of public relations at Honda Motor Co. in Kuala Lumpur. The automaker is recalling more than 15,700 vehicles in Malaysia, he said.

“The driver crushed her vehicle into another vehicle, and the driver’s SRS air-bag was deployed abnormally and the inflator case was broken,” Jordhatt said yesterday, declining to provide the name and other details of the victim. “She was pregnant and the fetus also died.”

This latest fatality adds to the four deaths linked to Takata in the U.S., including one in Florida that police first investigated as a murder because of gashes to the driver’s throat. Faulty air-bag inflators made by the Japanese company have ruptured and spewed metal fragments at passengers, prompting safety campaigns by automakers including Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Co.

The Honda City involved in the crash was registered in the Southeast Asian nation of Brunei, Jordhatt said. The sultanate is nestled between the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo.

Intensive Care

A 43-year-old pregnant woman died in an ambulance on the way to hospital after a road accident in the Sarawakian town of Sibu on July 27, the New Sarawak Tribune reported July 31. While an emergency operation was successful in removing her fetus alive, the baby died in an intensive care unit on July 29, the paper reported. Jordhatt said he could not confirm details of the victims, citing confidential personal information.

The flaw prompting Honda’s recall yesterday was traced back to problems at Takata’s now-closed plant in LaGrange, Georgia, according to Akemi Ando, the automaker’s spokeswoman. Takata has already disclosed issues with factories in Moses Lake, Washington, and Monclova, Mexico, in U.S. regulatory documents.

The Florida Highway Patrol last month began investigating the death of a Honda Accord driver, Hien Thi Tran, initially as a homicide because deep cuts on her neck weren’t consistent with crash injuries.

The 51-year-old victim turned in front of an oncoming car in Orlando, Florida, according to a Sept. 29 police report. The driver died from her injuries on Oct. 2.