Five reported dead after Japan Airlines plane catches fire

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Five reported dead after Japan Airlines plane catches fire

| Updated: January 3, 2024 19:18

A Japan Airlines aircraft caught fire after colliding with a smaller coastguard aircraft on the runway at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

According to a BBC report, all 379 passengers and crew on board were evacuated. However, five of the six crew on the coastguard plane succumbed to injuries, the police confirmed. The plane’s captain has survived.

Fourteen passengers and crew who were taken off the Japan Airlines flight suffered minor injuries, said Japanese public broadcaster NHK, citing fire officials.

A woman with a small child was quoted by The Guardian: “I thought we landed normally. But then I realised I was smelling smoke. I looked outside, and it was already burning. I needed to protect my daughter. That was the only thing on my mind.”

The Guardian also reported the traumatic experience of a passenger who told the media outlet, NHK, “As soon as we landed, there was a bang. And I noticed a blaze rising from the right side. It was getting hot inside the plane, and, to be honest, I thought I wouldn’t survive.”

The airliner arrived from Sapporo on the northern island of Hokkaido.

The BBC added that this was the first major accident involving an A350, a new breed of aircraft built of advanced materials like carbon fibre-reinforced plastic.

Air safety experts earned praise for evacuating all the passengers. All four of Haneda’s runways were sealed following the incident.

The coastguard aircraft, a De Havilland Dash 8 turboprop, was meant to assist relief efforts following the earthquake in Ishikawa. 

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the authorities were keen to ensure the accident did not hinder earthquake relief supplies.

“This is a great regret as the crew members performed their duties with a strong sense of mission and responsibility for the victims of the disaster area,” he was quoted as saying.

Officials claimed the flight crew reported no problems before landing. 

There is no clarity as to what caused the collision. The coastguard, the BBC reported, said investigations were on as to what time the two aircrafts collided.

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