[KUALA LUMPUR] Honda Motor Co said two fatal crashes in Malaysia involved ruptured airbag inflators made by Takata Corp, bringing the global number of deaths linked to the defective devices to 13 as the US ordered the Japanese supplier to widen the scale of its recalls.
The two crashes took place on April 16 and May 1 in Malaysia's Sabah and Kedah states, respectively, and involved ruptured driver-side airbag inflators made by Takata, according to the Honda statement dated May 4. Both vehicles were included in recalls announced by Malaysia requiring replacement of the front airbag, the automaker said.
"Honda Malaysia is working with the local authorities to get the database of current owners of these cars and communicate with them on the recall," Jordhatt Johan, a spokesman for Honda Malaysia, said by phone Thursday.
While the official cause of death hasn't been determined in the latest two cases, the crashes add to the first known death in Malaysia in 2014 linked to Takata-made airbags. In the first case, an eight-and-a-half-months pregnant driver died after a collision set off the airbag, which ruptured and fired a one- inch-wide shard of metal into her neck.
A researcher hired by a coalition of automakers said in February that moisture seeping into Takata's inflators was determined to be the reason that the air bags may rupture. US regulators on Wednesday ordered the company to replace as many as 40 million additional air bags in the US, more than double what has been announced.