Saturday, 2 June 2012
On Friday 12th November 2010, 59-year-old engineer Ronald Smith was involved in a six-car crash. Smith escaped unharmed from his Insignia but the crash was so violent that one window shattered, causing a shard of glass to pierce the driver’s side airbag, releasing the contents.
The 59-year-old immediately began complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath. Smith told his wife that the white powder from the punctured airbag filled the car to the point where it caused a white-out in the cabin.
Around two months later, Smith was rushed to the hospital for breathing problems.
“He just couldn’t breathe and he was very distressed,” June Smith, Ronald’s wife, told The Northern Echo. “He could barely move. It was a very cold winter, and he was really struggling.”
Smith was admitted to the intensive care unit but died on the 31st January.
A thorough investigation was launched shortly after, with the results announced earlier this week. The inquest found that the powered – which is basically a blend of chemicals — from the cut airbag was indeed responsible for Smith’s death.
“I accept that the death was attributed to bronchial pneumonia and pulmonary fibrosis and that it was developed after this incident in November, and the deceased’s exposure to noxious substances,” said South Tyneside Coroner Terence Carney. “This man died as a result of this incident and more pointedly because of the explosion of his airbag, and this death should be recorded as misadventure.”
Vauxhall says it is investigating the matter but has yet to comment.
at 10:04 am