Aircraft engulfed in flames following collision with coast guard plane in Japan, resulting in a tragic incident at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo on Tuesday. The Japan Airlines passenger plane was carrying nearly 400 people when the incident happened. The passenger plane had been on a mission to deliver aid to victims of a recent earthquake.
Disturbing footage captured the moment the Japan Airlines plane erupted into flames, with the fire spreading rapidly across the runway as the aircraft came to a halt. Despite the intensity of the blaze, all 379 passengers on board managed to evacuate, averting further loss of life. However, at least 17 passengers sustained injuries, with no detailed information provided about their conditions.
Tragically, five crew members on the coast guard plane lost their lives in the collision, while their captain sustained critical injuries. The incident has left a somber mark on the community, prompting investigations into the circumstances surrounding the collision and subsequent fire at the busy airport.
The entire cabin was filled with smoke within a few minutes. We threw ourselves down on the floor. Then the emergency doors were opened and we threw ourselves at them.- 17-year-old Swedish passenger Anton Deibe
"The smoke in the cabin stung like hell. It was a hell," added Deibe, who was traveling with his parents and sister.
Videos and pictures circulated on social media depicted scenes of panic within the smoke-filled cabin of the aircraft, capturing passengers shouting and scrambling to safety. The chaotic images also revealed passengers hastily making their way across the tarmac, seeking refuge away from the plane, and using evacuation slides to escape the unfolding emergency.
"I felt a boom like we had hit something and jerked upward the moment we landed," a passenger on the JAL flight said. "I saw sparks outside the window and the cabin filled with gas and smoke."
Fire fighters putting out the flames on the planes
The inferno lasted for six hours before finally being extinguished. NHK television reported that the police are anticipated to launch an investigation into the accident, focusing on suspicions of professional negligence.
Despite having received clearance to land from aviation officials following its 550-mile journey from Chitose Airport near Sapporo, Japan Airlines officials asserted that the flight had followed standard procedures. Managing Executive Officer Tadayuki Tsutsumi addressed a late Tuesday news conference, describing the passenger plane's entry and landing as "normal." However, he did not provide specific details regarding the collision with the coast guard plane.
The Transport Ministry Civil Aviation Bureau contended that the collision occurred as the passenger plane touched down on a runway where the Coast Guard aircraft was in the process of preparing for takeoff. The conflicting accounts raise questions about the circumstances leading to this tragic incident at Haneda International Airport.
The Vice Commander informed reporters that the coast guard pilot communicated to his base about the explosion of his aircraft following the collision with the commercial plane.
The coast guard aircraft, carrying six occupants, was on its way to Niigata Airport to assist those affected by a powerful earthquake that occurred on New Year's Day, resulting in the tragic loss of at least 48 lives, as reported by military officials.
Authorities responsible for transport safety were in the process of scrutinizing communication records between aviation control officials and the two planes. They also planned to conduct interviews with Japan Airlines officials to unravel the circumstances leading to the collision.
In response to the incident, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida directed relevant agencies to collaborate and assess the extent of the damage, according to his office. Haneda, one of Tokyo's primary airports, took the precautionary measure of closing all runways in the aftermath of the collision, as confirmed by a spokesperson.