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Plane Ablaze on Japanese Runway After Collision; Passengers Escape

  • Publish date: Tuesday، 02 January 2024
Plane Ablaze on Japanese Runway After Collision; Passengers Escape

A Japan Airlines plane carrying 379 passengers caught fire at Tokyo's Haneda airport after colliding with a coastguard plane on Tuesday.

All passengers and crew were safely evacuated, deemed a "miracle." Tragically, five crew members on the coastguard plane died, while the pilot escaped. Flames engulfed the Airbus A-350, breaking the hull in two despite firefighting efforts.

Japan's Prime Minister expressed sorrow and gratitude for evacuation efforts amid earthquake challenges. Video footage captured the plane on fire, and passengers feared for their lives. Haneda's runways were closed as 70 fire trucks battled the blaze.

Former pilot Rodger Whitfield called the evacuation a "miracle," emphasizing the crew's heroic efforts. "I think first of all, you've got to say that we just witnessed a miracle. The way they got all those passengers off that airplane is almost beyond belief. For the crew to have got all the passengers off, it's a miracle. There's no two ways about it."

Japan Airlines reported no life-threatening injuries among evacuees. Another ex-pilot noted the potential for a worse outcome. The Airbus A-350, Flight 516, collided with a coastguard aircraft on the runway after departing from Hokkaido. The A-350, widely used internationally, is part of JAL's fleet. The incident follows recent additions of newer A350-1000 planes for international routes.  The International Air Transport Association expressed condolences amid challenging times for Japan.