1 Dead, 4 Injured After Truck Carrying Takata Airbags Explodesby Jana Ritter - Published: 8/29/2016
A tractor-trailer hauling Takata air bag propellants exploded on a Texas highway last week. The explosion was so big it engulfed a passing vehicle, killed a woman in a nearby home and injured four people including the drivers and passengers of both vehicles. While the official cause of the incident has not been determined, it is said that the truck driver failed to negotiate a curve and crashed, igniting the explosion.
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The tragic explosion occurred in the early morning hours on August 22 at around 2:15 a.m. on U.S. 277 near Quemado, TX. The trailer-truck was hauling air bag propellants carrying air bag detonators and blasting agents to Takata’s storage facility in Eagle Pass and was being operated by a subcontractor’s driver. According to authorities, the driver lost control of the vehicle on a curve and crashed. The Texas Department of Public Safety said the fiery explosion was massive enough to engulf a passing car in flames and reach a nearby home, killing 67-year-old Lucila Robles who was sleeping inside. Maverick County SheriffTom Schmerber said that the department had led a difficult two-day search for Ms. Robles, which ended when family members found her remains.
The explosion also caused multiple fires, damaging 10 nearby houses and debris was found as far as 2 miles from the site. The truck driver and a passenger, along with the driver and a passenger in the passing vehicle, were all injured in the explosion and taken to a nearby hospital. Jared Levy, a spokesperson from Takata Corp. told media that the truck had been carrying ammonium nitrate, which is the explosive chemical used in several types of airbag inflators. He also said the company is working with authorities in investigating the crash and explosion.“ Takata has strict safety procedures relating to the transportation of its products that meet or exceed all regulatory requirements. Our thoughts are with the family of the woman who died as a result of this accident, and with the four people injured,” said Levy.
The company is already is in the midst of the biggest automotive recall in U.S. history for faulty airbags being linked to 11 deaths and over 100 injuries worldwide.