Earlier today (2 January 2024), a Japan Airlines plane caught fire after colliding with a smaller Coast Guard aircraft upon landing at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.
All 367 passengers and 12 crew members have been safely evacuated from the burning aircraft, according to the Japanese broadcaster NHK, however, 5 of the 6 people aboard the Cost Guard plane are yet unaccounted for. Besides the missing Coast Guard crew, it is yet unconfirmed whether or to what extent the evacuated people suffered any injuries.
Footage and pictures shared on social media show the Japan Airlines plane fully ablaze, still rolling down the runway with flames coming out of its windows. One of the aircraft engines exploded on collision with the Coast Guard plane, setting the entire passenger aircraft on fire, which were untameable despite firefighting efforts.
Japan Airlines Flight 516, operated on an Airbus A350 departed at 4pm local time from the New Chitose Airport in Hokkaidō, Japan’s northernmost main island. It was scheduled to land at Haneda Airport at 5:40 pm local time, but crashed into a MA722 fixed-wing aircraft of the Coast Guard upon landing.
The Coast Guard plane was carrying aid to Niigata Airport, on the country’s west coast, which had been struck by a severe 7.6-magnitutde earthquake on 1 January, killing at least 48 people and triggering a tsunami warning. Only the captain of the Coast Guard aircraft managed to escape, the rest of the crew still being unaccounted for.
Haneda Airport remains closed, while the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism opened an investigation to determine the circumstances leading to the accident.