Five Dead as Coast Guard Plane Hits Japan Airlines’ Airbus at Tokyo Airport

Tue Jan 02 2024
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TOKYO: Five people were killed in a tragic incident at Tokyo’s Haneda airport when a Japan Coast Guard aircraft collided with a Japan Airlines (JAL) passenger plane on the ground. The victims were onboard the coast guard plane.

The incident occurred on Tuesday, and all 379 passengers and crew on the Japan Airlines airliner, which burst into flames, were safely evacuated, according to Japanese transport minister Tetsuo Saito.

The coast guard plane, bound for central Japan to deliver supplies after a recent earthquake, collided with the JAL Airbus 350 on a runway or taxiway after the passenger plane touched down. The captain of the coast guard plane survived but sustained injuries, while the remaining five crew members lost their lives.

Footage shared on social media and television showed the JAL airliner moving along the runway before a sudden eruption of orange flames and black smoke. Emergency evacuation procedures were swiftly executed, with all passengers safely leaving the aircraft. Despite efforts by dozens of fire engines, the blaze engulfed the plane, reportedly an Airbus 350, leaving a trail of burning debris on the runway.

The coast guard aircraft had been preparing to fly to Ishikawa prefecture to deliver supplies in response to a New Year’s Day earthquake that claimed at least 48 lives. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida praised the deceased crew members for their dedication to aiding the victims of the earthquake, expressing regret over the tragic incident.

Investigation Launched into Japan Plane Collision

The transport ministry initiated investigations into the collision, examining communications between the flights and air traffic control. Haneda airport temporarily suspended domestic flights, but international operations continued with minimal disruption.

The collision marks a rare and devastating aviation incident for Japan, which has not experienced a serious commercial aviation accident in decades. The nation’s worst aviation disaster occurred in 1985 when a JAL jumbo jet crashed in central Gunma region, resulting in 520 fatalities—one of the world’s deadliest plane crashes involving a single flight.


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