Plane Collision Ignites Blaze at Tokyo Airport, Leaving Casualties

Plane Collision Ignites Blaze at Tokyo Airport, Leaving Casualties

A Japan Airlines plane caught fire after colliding with a coastguard aircraft on the runway at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. While all 379 passengers and crew on the airline were safely evacuated, five of the six crew members on the Coast Guard plane lost their lives. The incident disrupted travel plans for thousands of passengers as all four runways at Haneda were temporarily closed.

Japan Airlines Flight 516, arriving from Sapporo, burst into flames upon landing, skidding on the blazing runway. Passengers described feeling an impact, seeing sparks, and encountering gas and smoke in the cabin. The quick and efficient evacuation, praised by air safety experts, involved passengers using evacuation slides and running across the tarmac to safety.

The cause of the collision remains under investigation, with authorities and air safety experts commending the flight crew for their actions during the evacuation. The coastguard aircraft, a De Havilland Dash 8 turboprop, was en route to assist with rescue efforts following a recent earthquake.

While officials reported no problems from the flight crew before landing, exchanges with flight controllers are under scrutiny. The impact and subsequent fire led to the closure of all Haneda runways, affecting air travel schedules.

This marks the first significant accident involving an A350, a modern aircraft constructed with advanced materials like carbon fibre-reinforced plastic. Airbus is sending specialists to assist in the investigation in Japan.

The incident drew attention not only for the challenges it posed to travellers but also for the tragic loss of lives among the coastguard crew. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed regret over the crew members’ deaths and emphasised the importance of ensuring the accident doesn’t hinder earthquake relief efforts.

Despite the intensity of the blaze, passengers and crew faced minor injuries, and efforts to control the fire were commendable. As the investigation unfolds, questions about the circumstances leading to the collision will be crucial in understanding and preventing similar incidents in the future.


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