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“Textbook evacuation” saves 379 lives from JAL plane in Tuesday collision at Haneda Airport

An orderly evacuation amid a Tuesday collision at Haneda Airport reportedly resulted in what international media hailed as a ‘miraculous’ rescue of 379 passengers and crew from a Japan Airlines plane.

Tragically, Five out of the six crew members aboard a Japan Coast Guard plane lost their lives following the collision with the JAL aircraft.



JAPAN: During the Tuesday (2 Jan) collision at Haneda Airport, an organized evacuation led to what international media termed a ‘textbook evacuation,’ rescuing 379 passengers and crew from a Japan Airlines plane.

Tragically, the collision claimed five out of six Japan Coast Guard crew members’ lives.

All passengers and crew aboard JAL Flight 516 from New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido to Haneda were safely evacuated.

The commendable calm reactions of Flight 516’s crew were praised for saving countless lives.

The collision occurred as the Japan Airlines plane landed at Haneda Airport, crashing into the Coast Guard aircraft that was carrying relief goods for quake-hit areas in Niigata Prefecture.

The earthquake, reaching up to 7.6 magnitudes, struck central Japan on Jan 1.

Footage from the incident was broadcasted by NHK which captured a large burst of fire erupting from the side of the Japan Airlines plane, engulfing the aircraft as it taxied on the runway.

Meanwhile, video and images shared on social media showed passengers shouting inside the plane’s smoke-filled cabin and running across the tarmac after escaping via an evacuation slide.

Footage exhibits flight attendants in a dimly lit cabin gesturing for passengers to stay seated, thanking them for cooperation. Moments reveal an illuminated window frame amidst darkness.

Amidst the chaos, a woman’s plea, “Please get me out of here,” echoes, while a child questions, “Why don’t you just open the doors?”

According to Japanese media, Japan Airlines said the cabin crew used megaphones to guide passengers to safety.

Witnesses inside the plane praised the flight attendants for maintaining calm and swiftly deploying escape chutes, facilitating the evacuation of all 367 passengers and 12 crew members in under 20 minutes.

The flight attendants’ action in calming passengers and swiftly deploying the escape chutes moments after the plane halted.

 As a result, all 367 passengers and 12 crew members successfully disembarked within a remarkable timeframe of under 20 minutes.

The crew and passengers’ actions have been recognized for averting a potential tragedy, resulting in no serious injuries despite the intense situation.

Experts have commended the crew’s exceptional performance, noting the critical decision by passengers to evacuate without retrieving their carry-on bags—a crucial action that contributed to saving lives.

Nevertheless, they caution against premature conclusions about the incident’s cause, emphasizing that most accidents involve a combination of various contributing factors.


Transport Minister Tetsuo Saito confirmed the tragic loss of five Coast Guard crew members, while the 39-year-old captain managed to escape but sustained injuries.

Authorities reported that the JAL plane, attempting a normal landing, collided with the Coast Guard’s Bombardier-built Dash-8 maritime patrol plane on the runway.

No engine or other problems were reported before the landing.

Haneda Airport, one of the busiest travel hubs, temporarily shut down all runways due to the collision, causing disruptions during the peak holiday season.

Three of the four runways were reopened around 9:30 p.m., excluding the one where the collision occurred.

Japan Airlines says flight cleared to land before collision

JAL Managing Executive Officer Noriyuki Aoki stated at a press conference, “We recognize that permission was given” for Flight 516 to land.

However, investigations into exchanges with flight control are still ongoing.

Japan Airlines affirmed that its crew had received clearance from air traffic control for landing before the collision.

Audio recordings from, a site that broadcasts live air traffic signals, suggest the crew acknowledging the clearance order for runway 34, stating, “cleared to land 34 right.”

“According to interviews with the operating crew, they acknowledged and repeated the landing permission from air traffic control, and then proceeded with the approach and landing procedures,” Japan Airlines said.

Following the landing, Japan Airlines reported that the Japan Air Lines Airbus A350 collided with a Japan Coast Guard aircraft, resulting in a fire.

Subsequent to the ignition of the blaze, the plane remained stationary, with passengers utilizing emergency slides to escape the inferno while firefighters worked to control the intensifying flames.

NHK reports that over 100 fire trucks were mobilized in response to the accident.

Following the accident, JAL canceled 116 domestic flights affecting around 20,000 passengers, and All Nippon Airways Co. canceled 110 flights to and from Haneda.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday (Jan 2), had instructed relevant ministers to make every effort to swiftly investigate the collision that occurred at Tokyo’s Haneda airport.

He also pledged to provide information about the accident to the public in an appropriate manner.

Transport Minister Tetsuo Saito told reporters after meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida that his ministry would take the necessary steps to promptly get the airport reopened, to ease the negative effects of the closures and ensure the delivery of relief aid to the quake-hit areas.

The authorities are currently scrutinizing the unusual circumstances surrounding the crash, and the cause of the accident will also be investigated.

Despite the tragic outcome, a Japanese transport ministry official affirmed that the airline’s evacuation procedures were “conducted appropriately.”

One survivor, Sawada, described the incident as a miracle, expressing gratitude for the timely evacuation.

However, he voiced concerns about the future, stating, “I want to know why this happened, and I feel like I don’t want to board a plane again.”

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Can have comedy clip on YouTube about control tower and pilot funny conversation YET come to serious accident. Where is the audio transcript?!? Just accept what the media or politicians view of point or ask for transcript to be released?!?

Empire of the SUN, please show Transcript of the pilot and air controller communication either in words or audio so that we can understand the misunderstanding or some ppl trying to control situation. No transcript, hard to follow or understand what exactly happen …

If fault pin on small plane pilot, I am sure he would want to verify the transcript as well.

A successful outcome depends on passengers being compliant with flight attendant’s instructions.

The airline must also have procedures to end the inflight entertainment early to collect headsets, clear the cabin of meal service equipment and check that bags are securely stowed.

This flight is a domestic flight where, there are no pillows, blankets, or even headsets. If these are not properly stowed away, the evacuation will be hindered. Just because passengers demand to watch their movies to the end, these passengers should be stay behind to be fried.