Plane bursts into flames on runway of Tokyo airport as hundreds of passengers escape

todayJanuary 2, 2024 4

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Plane bursts into flames on runway of Tokyo airport as hundreds of passengers escape

A Japan Airlines aircraft that was carrying passengers burst into flames on the runway at Tokyo’s Haneda airport after a collision with a coast guard plane.

All 379 passengers, including eight children, and crew on board Flight 516 were evacuated, a feat described as a “miracle” by a former pilot.

However of the six people aboard the coast guard plane, five crew have been found dead while the pilot was able to escape.

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Haneda airport

Haneda airport

Flames were seen coming out of the windows of the Airbus A-350 as it skidded down the tarmac after landing.

The fire quickly took hold and grew to an inferno as the hull broke in two, despite fierce efforts from teams of firefighters to control the blaze.

Dramatic video taken by a passenger looking out of the aircraft window shows the plane moving down the runway, leaving a trail of smoke and burning with an orange light.

Sounds of loud rumbling from the engines can be heard as the plane speeds along the tarmac and inside the plane an alert sounds repeatedly.

The unknown passenger said “I thought I was going to die” in their post on X alongside footage showing what looks like smoke inside the cabin.

All runways at Haneda – Japan’s busiest airport – are currently closed as at least 70 fire trucks and other vehicles work to extinguish the blaze.

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Inside the Japan Airlines flight as it caught fire

Evacuation of Flight 516 ‘a miracle’

Japan Airlines says the flight landed at Haneda where it then collided with a coast guard aircraft.

It was seen travelling along the runway with flames on board before coming to a stop, as the fire engulfed the airliner.

Rodger Whitfield, a former commercial pilot, told Sky News “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 aeroplane 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.”

There were no life-threatening injuries reported among those evacuated from the jet, according to Japan Airlines.

Another former pilot, Alastair Rosenschein, said it could have been “so much worse”.

The Airbus A-350 aircraft – Flight 516 – had departed from Shin-Chitose airport in Hokkaido.

Haneda airport

Haneda airport

Five coast guard crew found dead

Six people were aboard the coast guard plane, which had been headed for Niigata airport base to assist with the ongoing earthquake relief effort.

The pilot of the smaller plane escaped, the coast guard has said, but the remaining five crew are reported by Japanese broadcaster NHK to have been found dead.

The aircraft was a Bombardier Dash-8, a propeller driven short-haul plane that typically have between 50 and 80 seats.

Pilot and aviation consultant Tim Atkinson told Sky News that the planes weigh 20-something tonnes and are “not anything like the size of the A350s” but are “sizeable enough to have a significant volume of fuel on board”.

Written by: Newsroom

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