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Japan Airlines collision: Coast Guard jet was slated to aid earthquake rescue efforts; 5 crew members dead

The Coast Guard plane involved in the collision with Japan Airlines on the runway of Tokyo airport on Tuesday was scheduled to depart for participating in rescue operations following the significant earthquake in central Japan.

Japan Airlines collision: Coast Guard jet was slated to aid earthquake rescue efforts; 2 crew members dead snt
First Published Jan 2, 2024, 5:01 PM IST

In a collision between a Coast Guard plane and a Japan Airlines aircraft on the runway of Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Tuesday, five out of the six individuals on the Coast Guard plane have reportedly lost their lives. According to NHK TV, five crew members have been found dead on the coast guard plane involved in the crash, while the pilot had been evacuated and is said to be in critical condition.

Subsequent to the collision, the Japan Airlines plane burst into flames, leading to the evacuation of all 379 individuals on board, including eight children and 12 crew members. The Airbus, arriving from Sapporo airport in northern Japan's Hokkaido, sustained severe damage in the collision. At Haneda Airport, renowned as one of the world's busiest, a Coast Guard official mentioned that they are currently "checking details" as the investigation unfolds.

NHK earlier quoted the Japan Coast Guard, stating, "There were 6 people in the aircraft, of which one escaped, and the safety of five people is unknown." The specific type of the coast guard aircraft involved is identified as an MA72 fixed-wing aircraft.

Also read: Chaos on Tokyo runway: Hundreds flee burning Japan Airlines plane; terrifying in-flight video goes viral

The incident occurred a day following a potent earthquake that hit central Japan on Monday, claiming the lives of at least 30 people and causing widespread destruction to buildings, as well as power outages for tens of thousands of homes. The Jiji news agency disclosed that the coast guard plane had plans to depart for assisting in rescue operations following the substantial earthquake in central Japan.

In a distressing sequence of events, the Japan Airlines plane, accommodating 379 passengers was observed traversing the runway. Suddenly, a substantial explosion of vivid orange flames emanated from beneath and behind the aircraft. Swift evacuation protocols were executed to safeguard the well-being of everyone on board.

Images captured in the aftermath illustrate the Airbus plane with flames emerging from its windows and the nose resting on the ground, while rescue workers diligently sprayed the wreckage. The runway was strewn with burning debris, necessitating the dispatch of over 70 fire engines to quell the fire.

Following the collision, Haneda Airport has taken the unprecedented step of closing all runways, causing a considerable disturbance to air traffic operations. Japan, renowned for maintaining a robust aviation safety record, has remained free from significant commercial aviation accidents for several decades. The most heart-wrenching incident traces back to 1985 when a JAL jumbo jet crashed in the central Gunma region, resulting in the tragic loss of 520 lives—an event recognized as one of the world's deadliest plane crashes involving a single flight.

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