WASHINGTON -- NHTSA said Thursday it identified the 18th U.S. death tied to a Takata airbag inflator rupture after the review of a recent BMW crash.
The safety agency said it had concluded a Takata airbag inflator rupture during a September crash in Arizona had led to fatal injuries of the driver.
This was the first reported Takata death in a BMW vehicles after 15 U.S. deaths in Honda Motor Co. vehicles and two in Ford Motor Co. vehicles since 2009.
BMW said its "engineers will work closely with federal investigators to inspect the vehicle and to understand the details of the incident."
The defect, which leads in rare instances to airbag inflators rupturing and sending metal fragments flying, prompted the largest automotive recall in U.S. history of about 100 million inflators by 19 major automakers worldwide.
More than 290 U.S. injuries are also tied to faulty Takata inflators and at least 27 deaths worldwide. The issues especially affects older vehicles with long-term exposure to hot, humid conditions.
NHTSA said in a statement Thursday the "incident underscores the importance of replacing every recalled Takata air bag. When notified of a safety defect, we urge vehicle owners to immediately contact their automaker’s local dealer to schedule a free repair."