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Japanese airliner burns after apparent collision with coast guard aircraft at Tokyo’s Haneda airport

In World
January 02, 2024

A Japan Airlines plane burst into flames on the runway of Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on Tuesday after apparently colliding with a coast guard aircraft, media reports said.

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Images on broadcaster NHK showed the plane moving along the runway before a large explosion of orange flames exploded from beneath and behind it.

All 367 passengers and 12 crew onboard the Airbus plane were evacuated, NHK reported. Those onboard included eight children, Kyodo News reported.

NHK reported that one of the six crew members on the coast guard plane was safe but that the other five were unaccounted for.

The cause of the incident was not immediately clear, but television reports said that the Airbus collided with a coast guard aircraft.

The Jiji news agency reported the coast guard plane was scheduled to leave to help with rescue efforts following a massive earthquake in central Japan on Monday.

Reports said that the plane had just arrived from Sapporo airport on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

A coast guard official at Haneda Airport, one of the world’s busiest, said they were “checking details”. 

“It’s not clear if there was a collision. But it is certain that our plane is involved,” he told AFP. 

JAL said the passenger plane either collided with the other aircraft on a runway or a taxiway after it touched down, Kyodo reported.

Footage apparently shot by a passenger inside the aircraft showed flames coming from underneath it before the cabin fills with smoke. AFP was unable to verify the footage. 

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said it was probing the incident, Kyodo added.

The television footage showed flames coming out of windows as rescue workers sprayed the aircraft before flames engulfed the entire plane.

There was also burning debris on the runway and reports said the airport was closed to traffic.

More than 70 fire engines were being deployed, NHK reported.

Japan has not suffered a serious commercial aviation accident in decades. 

Its worst ever was in 1985, when a JAL jumbo jet flying from Tokyo to Osaka crashed in central Gunma region, killing 520 passengers and crew.

That disaster was one of the world’s deadliest plane crashes involving a single flight.

(AFP)

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