TOKYO/TOULOUSE: A Japan Airlines plane burst into flames after colliding with a Japan Coast Guard aircraft while landing at Tokyo-Haneda Airport Tuesday night (Jan 2). Images on NHK television showed the airliner moving along the runway while on fire after a large explosion of flames below the fuselage.
The cause of the incident was not immediately clear, but reports said all 367 passengers and 12 crew onboard the JAL plane were evacuated. Five JCG personnel in the other aircraft died.
The coast guard aircraft was hit by the landing plane on runway 34R while waiting to depart to Niigata delivering aid following the massive New Year’s Day Earthquake that hit the country. Live footage showed firefighters trying to douse flames on the plane, an Airbus A350-900 (JAL Flight JL516).
The Coast Guard plane involved in the collision was a fixed-wing JA722A De Havilland Canada DHC-8 -300 surveillance aircraft which had a crew six. Five crew members onboard the Coast Guard plane were killed, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said during a news conference.
The Coast Guard members had been en route to deliver supplies to the region affected by the powerful earthquake that struck western Japan on Monday, he said.
“They were filled with a determined sense of mission, and it is extremely regrettable and distressing what has happened to them,” the prime minister said. “I express my profound condolences to their surviving families.”
Besides the nine Bombardier DHC-8-300 aircraft, according to latest JCG data, other types of fixed-wing aircraft operated by the JCG are: Gulfstream G-V (2), Dassault Aviation Falcon 2000EX (6), Saab 340B (4), Beechcraft B300 (10) and Cessna 172S (5).
Airbus regrets to confirm that an A350-900 operated by Japan Airlines was involved in an accident during flight JAL516 from Sapporo New Chitose Airport to Haneda International Airport shortly after 17:47 (local time) on 02 January 2024.
“Our concerns and sympathy go to the families, friends and loved ones affected by the accident,” the airframer maker said in a statement from Toulouse.
In line with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 13 recommendations, Airbus will provide technical assistance to the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA) of France and to the Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB) in charge of the investigation. For this purpose, Airbus is presently dispatching a team of specialists to assist the Authorities.