Recall alert: Air bag fragments kill Volvo driver, spark recall

DETROIT — A person driving an older model Volvo died when metal fragments from an air bag inflator exploded, sparking a U.S. recall of up to 54,000 vehicles.

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Regulators said the inflator was made by auto parts supplier ZF/TRW, The Associated Press reported. U.S. government documents stated the devices perform similar to inflators made by Takata.

The recall covers Volvo S60 and S80 models from 2001 through 2003. Volvo said it will replace the driver’s air bag at no cost to customers, the AP reported.

The recall covers vehicles that were sold or registered in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the AP.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it is reviewing data with Volvo about other vehicles equipped with the inflators, the AP reported. The agency said the rupture that caused the death was the only incident reported worldwide.

According to the NHTSA, the air bags that were part of the Takata recall had defective inflators that could explode or cause the air bag to improperly inflate when deployed. A faulty seal on the inflator was believed to be the cause.

ZF/TRW spokesperson Tony Sapienza said Saturday in an email that he didn’t know whether the same inflators were sold to other automakers.

Takata, a Japanese-based company, used ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate air bags in a crash. NHTSA officials said Saturday that the ZF/TRW inflators did not use ammonium nitrate to inflate the air bags in the Volvo models, the AP reported.

The driver of the Volvo, and where the incident occurred, have not been disclosed.

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