ALHAMBRA (CBSLA.com) — A day after the federal government issued a rare and urgent safety warning for millions of cars, KCAL9 has learned that a defective air bag may be to blame for the 2013 death of a Rosemead man.
Police said 47-year-old Hai Ming Xu's air bag did deploy when the 2002 Acura struck a wall. Police said the car struck three parked vehicles as well.
Paramedics pronounced Xu dead at the scene.
Although Alhambra police would not release the accident report, a police sergeant read a portion to KCAL9's Erica Nochlin.
In it, he states, detectives wrote Xu was driving a recalled vehicle with faulty air bags.
The death report from the coroner's office obtained by Bloomberg News also cites a problem with the air bag.
The report stated that, "The air bag had a metallic portion that hit the deceased on the face as it deployed."
The same month that Xu died, a similar air bag exploded in Florida and almost killed Stephanie Erdman.
"Instant blindness on my right side followed by gushing blood. It was terrifying. I thought I was going to bleed out at first," Erdman recalled.
When Nochlin asked Honda about the case in Alhambra involving Xu, a spokesperson said the company just recently learned about it from media reports.
The spokesperson sent a statement, which said in part:
"Since it learned of this crash, Honda has been working to gather more information about the event, but, at this point, we have not been able to inspect the vehicle or the air bag components. Thus, it is too early in this process to draw any conclusions about whether an energetic deployment of a Takata air bag caused the injuries associated with that crash."
More than 11 million vehicles have been subject to this recall but safety experts say that number should be higher.
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