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Canada investigating fatal crash for possible link to GM defect

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[March 15, 2014]  OTTAWA (Reuters)  Canada's transport ministry said on Friday it is investigating a fatal car crash that appears to be related to an ignition defect in cars recalled last month by General Motors Co <GM.N.

"Transport Canada has received one complaint in late June of 2013, which appears to relate to the defect," Karine Martel, spokeswoman for the ministry, said. "The investigation is ongoing."

The complaint came after a vehicle veered off the road and hit multiple trees. The driver, who was alone in the car, was not wearing a seat belt. Quebec provincial police are investigating the cause of the accident.

Transport Canada has been in communication with GM Canada in order to understand how the death might be related to the GM ignition defect.

GM has recalled 1.6 million compact cars because it says when the ignition switch is jostled, a key could turn off the car's engine and disable airbags, sometimes while the vehicle is traveling at high speed.

The company says the ignition switch has been connected to at least 34 crashes and 12 deaths. A study released Thursday linked 303 deaths to the recalled cars.

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Canada has recalled 235,855 vehicles.

"Transport Canada is in communication with GM Canada regarding their plan going forward to ensure that the identified defect in these vehicles is going to be remedied as quickly as possible," said Martel.

(Reporting by Solarina Ho; writing by Louise Egan; editing by Leslie Adler)

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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