Police to probe death of driver possibly due to Honda airbag in Malaysia

A woman walks past vehicles by Japan's Honda Motor at the company's headquarters in Tokyo on May 13, 2016.
A woman walks past vehicles by Japan's Honda Motor at the company's headquarters in Tokyo on May 13, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysian police are investigating the death of a driver after a minor crash amid media reports she may have been the latest victim of a ruptured airbag.

The Malay Mail Online said the mother of two was killed when the airbag in her Honda City exploded after the crash on Sunday (June 26) outside the capital Kuala Lumpur.

"I confirm the woman died in the accident. We are looking at all possibilities as to the cause of her death," Mr Mohamad Zani Che Din, police chief of Petaling Jaya district, told AFP Monday. "I do not want to elaborate on the airbag. Let's wait for the outcome."

There have been 13 deaths worldwide linked to faulty Takata airbags in Honda vehicles.


Firefighter Rosdi Hainan, who led the rescue team, confirmed the airbag had exploded.

"When I arrived at the scene I noticed there were injuries and blood on her chest. The airbag had ruptured and she was gasping for breath," he told AFP.

Tokyo-based auto parts giant Takata is struggling to deal with a defect that can send metal and plastic shrapnel from the inflator canister hurtling toward drivers and passengers when an airbag is deployed.

A Honda spokesman said the carmaker had launched an "internal investigation" but declined to elaborate.

Last week Honda recalled 147,894 vehicles in Malaysia to replace deadly front passenger airbag inflators - part of a global programme which will involve more than 50 million recalls.

The latest recall in Malaysia applies to models manufactured from 2003 to 2011, Honda Malaysia said in a statement.

It includes the City, Accord, CR-V, Jazz and Civic models.

Previous deaths in Malaysia were reported in April in Sabah state and in Kedah state in May. They involved Honda City cars.

In 2014 a pregnant Malaysian died when a Takata airbag malfunctioned.