Japanese Airlines jet erupts in flames at Tokyo’s Haneda airport
A Japanese Airlines passenger plane with hundreds of passengers burst into flames at Tokyo’s Haneda airport following a possible collision.
A passenger on a Japan Airlines flight described the harrowing moments when the plane he was riding on collided with a Japanese coast guard aircraft on the runway of Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on Tuesday, causing the passenger jet to erupt into flames.
Swede Anton Deibe, 17, told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that a chaotic scene unfolded as Japan Airlines flight JAL-516 landed on the runway and its cabin began swiftly filling with smoke. The 17-year-old, his parents and his sister were among the 367 passengers and 12 crew members who were safely evacuated from the passenger plane.
“The entire cabin was filled with smoke within a few minutes. We threw ourselves down on the floor. Then the emergency doors were opened and we threw ourselves at them,” the passenger said. “The smoke in the cabin stung like hell. It was hell. We have no idea where we are going so we just run out into the field. It was chaos.”
Five people on the Japanese coast guard plane were killed, and its captain was hospitalized in critical condition, according to local news station NHK TV, which cited the Metropolitan Police Department.
JAPAN AIRLINES PLANE BURSTS INTO FLAMES AFTER COLLISION AT TOKYO’S HANEDA AIRPORT, LEAVING 5 DEAD
Firefighters work at Haneda International Airport after Japan Airlines’ A350 airplane caught on fire in Tokyo on Jan. 2, 2024. (REUTERS/Issei Kato)
NHK TV reported the plane was an Airbus A-350 that had flown from Shin Chitose Airport, near the city of Sapporo, to Haneda.
Another passenger confirmed trouble ensued immediately after it landed.
“I felt a boom like we had hit something and jerked upward the moment we landed,” the unidentified passenger of the JAL flight told Kyodo news agency. “I saw sparks outside the window and the cabin filled with gas and smoke.”
JAPAN DOWNGRADES TSUNAMI WARNING AFTER EARTHQUAKE ROCKS REGION, AT LEAST FOUR CONFIRMED DEAD
Footage of the plane landing appeared to show it igniting immediately upon landing with flames originating near its wings. The flames then quickly spread across the entire plane.
Firefighters work at Haneda International Airport after Japan Airlines’ A350 airplane caught on fire in Tokyo, Jan. 2, 2024. (REUTERS/Issei Kato)
Images shared on social media showed passengers inside the cabin before they exited via an evacuation slide and ran across the tarmac.
A mother of one of the passengers was waiting outside the arrival gate when her 29-year-old daughter and boyfriend called to explain the plane had burst into flames.
“She said the plane had caught fire, and she exited via a slide,” Kaoru Ishii said, Reuters reported. “I was really relieved that she was alright.”
Japan Airlines’ A350 airplane is on fire at Haneda international airport in Tokyo on Jan. 2, 2024. (REUTERS/Issei Kato)
Former Japan Airlines captain and aviation critic Hiroyuki Kobayashi told NHK News the planes could have collided after a miscommunication with the traffic control center.
He also said the massive fire could have ignited from sparks reaching the fuel tank.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
“Judging from the speed of the fire, it is possible that the fire caused by the impact of the aircraft’s collision ignited the fuel tank inside the wing,” the former captain said.
A Japan Airlines plane is on fire on the runway of Haneda airport on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024 in Tokyo. (Kyodo News via AP)
Coast guard spokesperson Yoshinori Yanagishima confirmed the collision between the passenger plane and the coast guard’s flight MA-722, a Bombardier Dash-8.
The coast guard plane, which is based at Haneda, was destined to Niigata to deliver emergency goods to residents affected by an earthquake that killed at least 48 people in the region on Monday, according to the Kyodo News agency.
The cause of the collision is being investigated.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.