Sydney Man Died After Takata Airbag Malfunctioned

The largest automotive recall in history centres around the defective Takata Corp. air bags, found in millions of vehicles manufactured by BMW, Chrysler, Daimler Trucks, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Today, the NSW Coroners Court heard that a Sydney man died after a faulty Takata airbag launched a piece of metal at his neck in a minor collision.

Huy Neng Ngo, 58, died on 13 July 2017 in a car accident at Cabramatta. He had been booked in to replace his airbag on July 11, just two days before the fatal accident, however the booking was postponed to October.

In February, the Australian government issued a compulsory recall of Takata airbag inflators, after an initial voluntary recall. According to the ACCC, the propellant used in the affected Takata airbags degrades over time. As a result, it can deploy with too much force, breaking the airbag's housing and flinging out dangerous metal fragments.

Assisting counsel Tamara Phillips said the Ngo family were not made aware of the nature of the airbag's fault prior to the accident, per The Guardian. Neither Ngo nor his wife spoke English as their first language. "They have expressed interest in why it was they had to wait as long as they did to wait for replacement," said Phillips.

There have been 24 reported deaths and over 300 injuries worldwide caused by Takata airbags, which affect around one in four Australian vehicles. Japanese manufacturer Takata filed for bankruptcy in June last year, however around four million of the defective inflators were already in Australian cars.

As of August, just over half of all inflators affected by the recall have been replaced, leaving 1.8 million remaining. It is the largest automotive recall in Australia's history.

You can check whether your car or motorcycle is affected by the recall here.

An inquest into the airbags, the recall, and why Ngo's airbag was not replaced when originally scheduled will be held next year.

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