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Honda says fatal crash involved Takata air bag inflator rupture

An airbag logo is seen on a steering wheel of Honda Motor Co's all-new hybrid sedan "Grace", which installed the airbag made by Takata Corp, during its unveiling event in Tokyo December 1, 2014. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

DETROIT (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co Ltd on Friday said it has confirmed that a Takata Corp (7312.T) air bag inflator ruptured in a Jan. 18 crash in Texas that killed the driver.

Prior to the incident that took place near Houston, Takata air bags had been linked to at least five deaths.

On Thursday, Honda issued a statement about the fatal crash involving a 2002 Honda Accord with a Takata air bag but had not yet confirmed that the inflator had ruptured. A preliminary report from the medical examiner, however, said the driver died of "blunt force injuries to the neck."

U.S. safety regulators have said defective Takata air bag inflators in certain vehicles can rupture and spray metal fragments inside the vehicle.

"The incident cited involved a vehicle that had been previously recalled, and we are working in close collaboration with Honda to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the vehicle’s status at the time of the incident," a Takata spokesman said on Friday.

Honda said on Thursday that the 2002 Accord was included in a 2011 recall, but had not been repaired.

On Friday, a Honda spokesman said that the company had sent "multiple" recall notices by mail to the former owner of the Accord, but that the current owner was not notified after he purchased the car in April 2014.

A top Honda executive last November endorsed a proposal that the new owner of a used vehicle not be allowed to register the vehicle if there was an outstanding recall associated with it and the parts were available for it to be repaired.

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Alan Crosby)