All passengers were safely evacuated, but tragically, five out of six crew members aboard another plane engaged in providing aid to the earthquake-affected west coast—lost their lives.
At Tokyo International Airport, commonly known as Haneda, a Japan Airlines aircraft faced a catastrophic situation, resulting in the evacuation of hundreds of individuals. Reports suggest that following its landing on Tuesday, the aircraft was involved in a collision with another plane. NHK TV conveyed that all 379 passengers aboard the Japan Airlines (JAL) flight were successfully evacuated.
Confirming the incident, Japan’s Coast Guard stated that the collision implicated one of its planes, revealing that five out of six crew members aboard that plane had sadly perished. The lone survivor is believed to be the captain.
Haneda airport’s spokesperson indicated that all runways are presently closed due to the situation’s severity. Visuals from local television exhibited a massive eruption of fire and smoke engulfing the Japan Airlines plane as it taxied on the runway, with the area around the wing catching fire. Passengers were seen evacuating the aircraft via emergency slides.
Subsequent footage depicted firefighting crews battling the blaze using water streams, yet the flames had extensively engulfed the plane. A powerful fireball erupted, causing significant damage to the aircraft. Initial reports did not disclose any information regarding potential casualties.
According to a JAL spokesperson, the aircraft had originated from New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido. Haneda stands as one of Japan’s busiest airports, particularly during the New Year holidays, attracting a large number of travelers.
Journalist Patrick Fok, citing information from local news outlet Nippon TV, shared that the coastguard plane was on a mission to deliver aid to Niigata, a city on the west coast, in response to the recent devastating earthquake that struck on Monday. Fok expressed the distressing nature of recent events, acknowledging the challenging start to the year for the people of Japan.
Aviation analyst Alex Macheras emphasized that it remains too early to comprehend the precise sequence of events. He highlighted the common phenomenon wherein initial perceptions in the immediate aftermath of incidents often differ significantly from later findings unveiled during the investigative process.