12th U.S. Death Linked to Defective Takata Airbags

airbag takata

An 81-year old Florida man is the 12th Takata airbag casualty in the United States. However, it was not as a result of an accident like the other deaths.

Ramon Kuffo of Hialeah, Florida was working inside a Honda car with a hammer when the inflator suddenly exploded.  The medical examiner has ruled his death accidental due to head trauma, according to the Hialeah police report.

According to the official police report, the victim was in the backyard of his home working on a 2001 Honda Accord, when a neighbor heard a loud bang. The neighbor discovered the man unconscious in the passenger seat of the car, bleeding from his face. Kuffo was taken to a hospital trauma center, where he died the next day. Both airbags had deployed.

Mr. Kuffo, was apparently not the car’s owner, and was working on the interior of the Honda with a hammer and had taken apart the vehicle’s center console. It wasn’t clear what problem he was trying to repair.  Police photos show the driver’s side airbag ruptured and shot out fragments, a Honda spokesperson said. The car’s ignition switch was on, so the airbag would have been ready to deploy in case of a crash, according to Honda. 

If you check out our Takata airbag recall section, you will see the 2001 Accord has one of the most dangerous types of Takata driver’s side airbag inflators. Laboratory testing shows the 2001 Accord has as high as a 50 percent chance of blowing apart in a crash, spewing shrapnel.

Other Honda models that have shown to be the most dangerous are the 2001-2002 Accord and Civic, the 2002 CR-V and Odyssey, the 2002-2003 Acura 3.2 TL, the 2003 Acura 3.2 CL and the 2003 Pilot. Honda says it has sufficient supplies of replacement airbags available to fix all of its affected vehicles.

The Honda spokesperson said multiple owners of the car Kuffo was killed in were mailed 12 recall notices over seven years. “Our records indicate that the recall repair was never completed on this vehicle.” 

You can read Honda’s complete statement here.

Copyright: Maksim Toome/Shutterstock
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