A Takata Airbag Supply Truck Crashed and Exploded
Marc Stern's picture

Takata Supply Truck Erupts Killing 1, Hurting 4 In Ironic Blast

In an ironic twist for Takata, a supply truck carrying inflators and propellants similar to the devices that have been linked to airbag inflators that have exploded worldwide crashed and exploded.

Some might call it karma, while others might call it coincidence. Whatever you call it, though, the fact remains that this story is more than a little weird, involving, as it does, the airbag manufacturer at the heart of history’s largest automotive safety recall, Takata. It’s only Monday, but it has already been a bad week for Takata, whose exploding airbag inflators have been linked to 14 deaths and more than 150 serious injuries worldwide.

In what must be a case of cosmic irony, there was another fatality linked to an exploding airbag inflator, while four injuries were also tied to the same blast. The explosion occurred early last week when a truck carrying Takata airbag inflators and propellants crashed and burned on a run to a warehouse in Eagle Pass, Texas. The truck, operated by a subcontractor, blew up with such force that a nearby house was incinerated, and its occupant was killed.

Truck Carried Inflators, Propellant

While a Takata spokesman in Tokyo was unable to confirm the exact date and location of the crash – local media provided much of the information to Bloomberg and Automotive News – the same person acknowledged the truck was carrying the inflators and propellant. The propellant contains ammonium nitrate the explosive used to deploy Takata’s airbags. Deteriorating ammonium nitrate has been labeled the cause of the safety recall by investigators.

Meantime, the spokesman said, in a statement that the airbag manufacturer immediately sent “personnel to the site.” Takata has been “working closely with the subcontractor and the appropriate authorities to investigate this incident.”

Continuing, the spokesman emphasized that Takata has “strict safety procedures relating to the transportation of its products that meet or excelled all regulatory requirements.” Also, the spokesman said that the Takata’s “thoughts are with the family of the woman who died as a result of this accident, and with the four people injured.”

Inflators Built In Mexico

The warehouse in Eagle Pass stores inflators made at Takata’s Monclova, Mexico manufacturing facility. Monclova has been identified by probers as one of the sites where defective airbag inflators have been manufactured.

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What do you know about alternative propellants for the timely inflation and subsequent deployment of automotive airbags? What are other manufactures using for this purpose, and how does moisture increase the risk of possible explosion, and the fragmentation of the unit containment canister at the time of deployment? I've further noted in the news, an additional airbag manufacturer being swept up in the federal investigation, what's happening there? Cheers!