In a harrowing incident at Tokyo’s Haneda airport on Tuesday (2 Jan), a Japan Airlines (JAL) plane carrying hundreds caught fire upon landing after a catastrophic collision with another aircraft.
Flight 516, which had taken off from Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido prefecture, touched down at Haneda at 5:47 p.m. local time (3:47 a.m. ET), only to meet disaster on the runway.
The passenger jet, after colliding with a Coast Guard aircraft involved in earthquake relief efforts, erupted into a massive fireball.
The JAL aircraft was carrying 379 individuals, comprised of 367 passengers and 12 crew members. News agencies report that everyone on board has been successfully evacuated.
Dramatic footage showed the plane engulfed in flames, with passengers escaping via emergency slides as firefighters battled the blaze. However, the incident wasn’t without potential tragedy — while one individual from the Coast Guard plane escaped, five others remain unaccounted for.
Japan Airlines flight JL516, an Airbus A350 has collided with a Coast Guard aircraft on the runway at Tokyo-Haneda Airport. The aircraft is on fire with rescue operations underway. pic.twitter.com/BygfKxZBgh
— Breaking Aviation News & Videos (@aviationbrk) January 2, 2024
NHK reported that the collision took place after the JAL aircraft landed on runway C. The coast guard plane had six individuals on board; one suffered an injury and the conditions of the remaining five were not immediately disclosed.
The Japan Coast Guard (JCG) disclosed that its aircraft, a Bombardier Dash-8, was en route from Haneda to a JCG airbase in Niigata prefecture to assist with the aftermath of a 7.5-magnitude earthquake that struck on Monday. The collision with JAL flight 516 occurred during this critical mission.
JAL has initiated a thorough investigation to ascertain the cause of the fire.
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