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US: Explosion on truck carrying Takata airbags not caused by improper shipping

635514732232000120-AP-Japan-Earns-TakataBy Ashlee Kieler From Consumerist

On Aug. 22, a truck carrying potentially volatile airbags made by auto parts company Takata exploded, killing one person and injuring four others. Today, federal safety regulators said that the tragic incident could not be blamed on improper shipping.

According to Reuters, an initial investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board indicated the parts being shipped by Takata were properly packaged and stored.

A spokesperson for the NTSB said the agency’s hazardous material team made the determination along with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration following an initial survey of shipping documents.

The NTSB hasn’t ruled out a full-fledged investigation into the issue, however, noting that it will decide in the next few weeks whether a deeper investigation is needed.

The Takata parts truck was hauling airbag parts on Aug. 22 when it exploded, incinerating a nearby home and killing a woman.

The truck, Takata said, was carrying airbag inflators and propellants containing ammonium nitrate — the explosive chemical that the company said in 2015 it would phase out of new production. It was headed from a Takata factory in Mexico to a plant in Eagle Pass, TX and was being driven by a subcontractor.

“Takata immediately deployed personnel to the site and has been working closely with the subcontractor and the appropriate authorities to investigate this incident,” the company said in a statement earlier this week.

The initial NTSB finding comes the same day as Senators Richard Blumenthal, of Connecticut, and Edward Markey, of Massachusetts, called on the NTSB to investigate the Texas explosion.

“We also seek answers on what steps must be taken to ensure other towns and communities aren’t endangered by the shipment of ammonium nitrate on our highways,” they wrote in a letter to the agency.

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