BMW is issuing a recall for SUVs due to an incident where a Takata air bag inflator ruptured, causing shards to fly out and injuring the driver.

DETROIT (AP) — BMW is recalling a small number of SUVs in the U.S. because the driver’s air bag inflators can blow apart in a crash, hurling metal shrapnel and possibly injuring or killing people in the vehicles.

Documents posted on Saturday by U.S. auto safety regulators state that 486 X3, X4, and X5 SUVs from the 2014 model year are included in a recall due to air bags manufactured by Takata Corp. of Japan.

The recent recall has sparked concerns about the safety of approximately 30 million Takata inflators currently being looked into by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The majority of these inflators have not yet been recalled.

Takata utilized highly reactive ammonium nitrate to generate a controlled detonation for the purpose of inflating air bags during a collision. However, prolonged exposure to elevated temperatures and humidity can cause the chemical to degrade. This can result in an excessive explosion that tears apart the metal casing and releases fragments.

Since May 2009, a minimum of 26 individuals in the United States have lost their lives due to Takata inflators. The casualties extend globally with at least 30 fatalities reported in Malaysia and Australia. Furthermore, approximately 400 individuals have sustained injuries.

The possibility of a hazardous malfunction prompted the most extensive set of vehicle recalls in American history, affecting a minimum of 67 million Takata inflators. According to the U.S. government, numerous inflators have yet to be fixed. Globally, approximately 100 million inflators have been recalled. The airbags that exploded caused Takata to declare bankruptcy.

According to the documents, the BMWs contain inflators that include a moisture-absorbing substance known as a dessicant. This component was not included in previous recalls.

According to records, BMW was notified in November about a complaint made to NHTSA regarding a 2014 X3’s driver’s air bag rupturing. An investigation was launched by the company, but the specific cause has not been identified yet. However, initial findings suggest that there may have been a manufacturing issue between February 22, 2014 and March 7, 2014.

According to the manufacturer, they are currently examining the issue but have not yet been able to examine the X3 model with the defective air bag.

According to records from the NHTSA, a complaint was made stating that on October 23rd, the inflator in a 2014 X3 automobile malfunctioned and caused an explosion in Chicago. As a result, a large piece of metal was propelled into the driver’s lung, causing injuries to their chest and shoulder from shrapnel. The complaint also mentions that a surgeon had to remove a gold-colored disc from the driver’s lung, although the driver’s identity was not disclosed.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently investigating Takata air bags that contain a drying agent due to concerns that they could potentially explode and release dangerous shrapnel. This investigation, which began in 2021, includes over 30 million inflators found in more than 200 different models from 20 different car and truck manufacturers, such as Honda, Stellantis, General Motors, Ford, Nissan, Tesla, BMW, Toyota, Jaguar Land Rover, Daimler Vans, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, McLaren, Porsche, Mazda, Karma, Fisker, and Spartan Fire vehicles.

In May of 2020, the agency chose not to recall the inflators that contain dessicant, but stated that they would continue to monitor them.

The agency stated in a document initiating the investigation that although there is currently no known safety concern, more research is necessary to assess the potential future risk of non-recalled dried out inflators.

On Saturday, a representative from NHTSA stated that she would investigate the current progress of the inquiry. A request for a statement from BMW was also made.

Owners of BMW vehicles will receive a letter starting on January 16th, informing them that their airbags will be replaced by dealers at no expense.

The BMW recall was prompted by a similar recall from General Motors in July, where approximately 900 vehicles were affected due to Takata inflators containing dessicant. GM also attributed the issue to a manufacturing flaw at Takata.

Last summer, NHTSA released a statement regarding the GM recall, stating that they had no evidence indicating that other Takata inflators that had dried out might also burst.