JAL 516: Witness Accounts Reveal More Details About The Crash

A Japan Airlines (JAL) Flight 516 plane carrying 379 people had a collision with a Coast Guard aircraft at Tokyo's Haneda airport. Despite the plane catching fire, all aboard the JAL Airbus A350 managed to escape. The unfortunate incident, which occurred on Tuesday, resulted in the death of five out of six crew members on the Coast Guard aircraft. 


The dramatic scene unfolded around 6 p.m. (0900 GMT), with the JAL airliner skidding down the runway engulfed in flames. Videos and images circulating on social media captured passengers in the smoke-filled cabin shouting and rushing across the tarmac after exiting via an evacuation slide. A child's voice pleading for a quick exit was distinctly heard amidst the chaos. All 367 passengers and the 12 crew members were successfully evacuated from the burning plane. However, it took more than six hours for the fire to be completely put out, as reported by broadcaster TBS citing the fire department. The fire was finally extinguished shortly after midnight.

EN - 728x90

Satoshi Yamake, a 59-year-old telecommunications company employee who was on board, recounted feeling the airplane tilt to the side on the runway and experiencing a significant jolt. The flight attendants maintained calm and guided everyone off the plane. Japan Airlines confirmed that 14 people on the passenger plane sustained injuries, but none were life-threatening. Transport Minister Tetsuo Saito confirmed the unfortunate loss of five crew members from the Coast Guard aircraft, with the 39-year-old captain being the sole survivor, albeit injured. During a press briefing, a ministry official revealed that the JAL plane was in the process of a standard landing when it collided with the Coast Guard's Bombardier-built Dash-8 maritime patrol plane on the runway. The official confirmed that there were no prior reports of engine or other issues with the airliner before the landing. The Coast Guard disclosed that its plane was en route to Niigata on Japan's west coast to deliver aid following a powerful earthquake that occurred on New Year's Day, resulting in at least 55 fatalities. A JAL representative, during a press briefing, stated that they believed the flight had been granted landing permission, although he added that communications with flight control were still being investigated.

Cheap flights with cashback

The evacuation's efficiency was commended by passengers and aviation experts. Tsubasa Sawada, a 28-year-old passenger, recalled hearing an explosion about 10 minutes after everyone had disembarked from the plane. He expressed his relief at their timely exit, stating it was nothing short of a miracle. Paul Hayes, the director of air safety at the UK-based aviation consultancy Ascend by Cirium, observed that none of the evacuees appeared to be carrying hand luggage. He highlighted the longstanding warning from safety agencies about the life-threatening risks of pausing to collect carry-on bags during an evacuation. He commended the cabin crew for their excellent job and echoed the sentiment that it was miraculous that all passengers were able to evacuate. Japan Airlines stated in a release that the aircraft's in-flight announcement system was non-functional during the evacuation, leading crew members to use megaphones for instruction. Kaoru Ishii, who was awaiting the arrival of her 29-year-old daughter and boyfriend, initially assumed the flight was delayed until her daughter called to inform her about the fire on the plane and her escape via a slide. Ishii expressed immense relief that her daughter was safe. A representative from JAL confirmed that their aircraft had taken off from New Chitose airport, located on the northern island of Hokkaido in Japan. The flight crew, as per their interviews, acknowledged receiving landing clearance from air traffic control, confirmed it, and proceeded with the landing operations. The airline assured that there were no issues with the aircraft during its departure from New Chitose Airport or during the flight. The sequence of instructions issued before the crash could not be immediately determined from the multi-channel recordings available on liveatc.net. The air traffic control monitoring website recorded a controller announcing the closure of Haneda airport to all approaching pilots shortly after the impact. Transport Minister Saito stated that the cause of the accident remained unclear. Investigations would continue by the Japan Transport Safety Board, police, and other departments. The JTSB air accident agency initiated an investigation, with representatives from France, where the airplane was manufactured, and Britain, where its two Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines were produced, set to join. Airbus also planned to send technical advisers. Following the accident, Haneda Airport, one of Tokyo's two main airports, was closed for several hours. However, a transport ministry official confirmed that three runways had resumed operations since then. ANA, JAL's domestic competitor, had previously announced the cancellation of 110 domestic flights departing and landing at Haneda for the rest of Tuesday. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed his condolences over the deaths of the Coast Guard crew and assured that authorities were making efforts to ensure the accident did not disrupt the delivery of earthquake relief supplies. He expressed deep regret, acknowledging the crew members' strong sense of duty and responsibility towards the victims of the disaster area.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

1 / 3
2 / 3
3 / 3
EN - 728x90