Malaysian air bag victim was in final week of pregnancy

Sun Nov 16, 2014 3:24am EST
 
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By Trinna Leong

SIBU Malaysia (Reuters) - The death of a heavily pregnant Malaysian woman in a car crash on Borneo island in July opens a new front in a widening U.S. investigation into defective air bags that has triggered one of the biggest safety recalls in automotive history.

Law Suk Leh, 43, was driving her 11-year-old Honda City car in twilight on Sunday, July 27 when it collided with another vehicle making a turn across her lane at an intersection in a quiet industrial zone on the outskirts of Sibu, a town in the Malaysian-ruled northwest of Borneo.

According to local police, Law, who was wearing a seat belt, was hit in the neck by a single fragment of metal, nearly 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) in diameter, from the air bag that tore apart in the collision. The post mortem report showed she died from a "severe puncture wound on the neck".

Law and her 41-year-old Filipino husband were visiting family in Sibu ahead of the Eid public holidays. They had driven down from the nearby sultanate of Brunei where they lived and worked.

The 21-year-old driver of the other vehicle involved in the collision told Reuters he was taking family and friends to a local night market. He said an ambulance was called after the crash, but a pick-up truck driver offered to drive Law to the hospital.

"Me and the woman's husband carried her to the back of the pick-up. She had a hole in her throat and was bleeding badly. Her husband had a cloth covering her throat, trying to control the bleeding," he said.

"She was still alive, but couldn't speak."

Law was later transferred to an ambulance, but was pronounced dead en route to hospital, where a baby daughter was delivered alive, but died two days later, police said. Law's nephew, Law Ee Liang, said his aunt had just a week left of her pregnancy. Other members of Law's family declined to discuss the incident. Law also had a seven-year-old son, who possibly lives with his grandparents in Sibu, police said.   Continued...

 
A visitor walks past displays of Takata Corp at a showroom for vehicles in Tokyo November 5, 2014.  REUTERS/Toru Hanai