Plane Bursts Into Flames While Landing At Tokyo Airport

Five people aboard a Japan Coast Guard plane were killed but all passengers and crew aboard the Japan Airlines flight that collided with it were safely evacuated from the aircraft.

A Japan Airlines plane erupted in flames on Tuesday as it landed on a runway at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and collided with a Japan Coast Guard aircraft.

The airline said all 379 passengers and crew members had been safely evacuated.

The coast guard pilot escaped its aircraft but the other five crew members were found dead, Japan’s transport minister, Tetsuo Saito, confirmed. The plane was due to travel to the guard’s Niigata base to assist with recovery efforts after a series of earthquakes.

At least 17 of the people evacuated from the plane were injured, according to NHK, citing the Tokyo Fire Department.

A Japan Coast Guard spokesperson confirmed a collision between the passenger plane and its flight MA-722, a Bombardier Dash-8.

Footage from NHK showed the Japan Airlines aircraft ablaze on the runway. Earlier footage posted online showed a burst of flames as the plane landed.

The flight, JAL516, had departed from New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

All of Haneda Airport’s runways were closed from around 6 p.m. local time, The Japan Times reported, with flights being diverted to Narita Airport.

Authorities were still working to extinguish the blaze, which appeared to have spread to most of the plane, more than an hour after the flight landed.

Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, addressed the incident in a news conference Tuesday night.

He confirmed that the coast guard team had been on their way to deliver aid to the earthquake-stricken region in western Japan.

He called it a “very disappointing and saddening situation,” according to a Sky News translation.

“I’d like to express my respect towards their sense of duty, as well as offer my heartfelt condolences for their losses,” he said.

The transport minister said the cause of the incident was unclear and multiple departments, including police and the Japan Transport Safety Board, were investigating.

He said the ministry was working to get Haneda Airport’s operations back up and running as soon as possible.

Plane manufacturer Airbus said that the A350-900 plane involved in the collision was delivered to Japan Airlines from the production line in November 2021.

The company said in a statement they are dispatching specialists to help authorities with the investigation.

“I felt a bump, like the aircraft was colliding with something when touching down. I saw a spark outside the window and the cabin was filled with gas and smoke,” a passenger on the Japan Airlines flight told the Kyodo news agency.

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