Ford recalls about 391K Ranger pickups due to air bag death

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Ford Recalls 391,000 Rangers for Faulty Airbag

DETROIT (AP) -- Ford is recalling nearly 391,000 Ranger pickups because the driver's air bag inflators can explode with too much force and cause injuries.

The recall covers trucks from the 2004 through 2006 model years in the U.S. and Canada.

SEE ALSO: Mazda recalls 374,000 vehicles for Takata airbag defects

It comes just days after the government announced that a South Carolina man was killed when an inflator exploded in December. Joel Knight, 52, of Kershaw died when he was struck in the neck by metal shrapnel after his 2006 Ranger hit a cow in the road and struck a fence.

The government says automakers will recall another 5 million vehicles equipped with faulty inflators made by Takata Corp. of Japan. Some of the recalls are because of the crash that killed Knight, with the rest due to air bags failing in lab tests.

Other automakers are expected to announce more recalls soon as the Takata inflator mess continues to grow. It now covers 14 auto and truck makers and totals about 24 million vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the number of recalls is likely to expand further.

Takata uses the chemical ammonium nitrate to cause a small explosion that creates gas and inflates air bags in a crash. But the chemical can deteriorate over time when exposed to high heat and humidity and burn too fast, blowing apart a metal canister designed to contain the explosion.

Knight is the 10th known death worldwide due to the inflators, and more than 100 people have been hurt.

Ford says it will send letters to owners about the recall starting the week of Feb. 22. Although it has some replacement parts available, the company is working with air bag makers to make additional inflators as soon as possible, spokesman John Cangany said.

The Rangers also were recalled last year to replace the passenger air bag inflators. Ford says customers can find out if their trucks are included by going to Ford.com and clicking on "safety recalls." Then they can enter their vehicle identification number to check.

Knight hit the cow at about 6:20 p.m. on South Carolina Route 522 not far from Columbia. If not for the inflator rupture, the crash would have been moderate and wouldn't have killed him, said Amanda Dotter, spokeswoman for the Elrod Pope Law Firm, which is representing his family.

Related: Products that were recalled in 2015:

9 PHOTOS
Recalls of 2015 (Products that were recalled)
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Ford recalls about 391K Ranger pickups due to air bag death
Cars fill the parking lot of a Costco store, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, in Seattle. Health authorities say chicken salad from Costco has been linked to at least one case of E. coli in Washington state. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2015, file photo, the grille of a Volkswagen car for sale is decorated with the iconic company symbol in Boulder, Colo. Volkswagen said Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, it is recalling 1,950 diesel vehicles in China while Singapore announced it is suspending sales of the companyâs diesel cars in the wake of the German automakerâs emissions cheating scandal. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley,File)
FILE - In this April 21, 2015 file photo, shelves sit empty of Blue Bell ice cream at a grocery store in Dallas afterTexas-based Blue Bell Creameries issued a voluntary recall for all of its products on the market after two samples of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for Listeriosis. Food manufacturers must be more vigilant about keeping their operations clean under new government safety rules released Thursday in the wake of deadly foodborne illness outbreaks linked to ice cream, caramel apples, cantaloupes and peanuts. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
The Nutro Company has issued a voluntary recall on their popular apple dog treats due to a "potential mold" problem. (Helen H. Richardson via Getty Images)
Tesla Motors recalled its Model S sedans for seat belt issue. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)
A can of SpaghettiOs Original is displayed with others on a rack for sale at a store on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, in Pittsburgh. Campbell Soup is recalling over 300,000 cans of SpaghettiOs Original in the U.S. due to a possible choking hazard. Pieces of red plastic, part of the can's lining, were found in a small number of the 14.2 ounce cans. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
FILE - In this April 24, 2015 file photo, a sign on a window at a Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams states that the store is closed, in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. CEO John Lowe said in a Tuesday, April 28, 2015 statement that Jeni's is destroying more than 265 tons of ice cream after listeria was found in the production facility and in products last week. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
This photo taken Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015 shows a sign at a Honda dealership in Miami Lakes, Fla. Honda on Thursday, March 12, 2015 announced it is launching an unprecedented U.S. ad campaign urging owners to get vehicles repaired if they have been recalled to fix defective air bags. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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