- A Japan Airlines Airbus A350 collided with a Japan Coast Guard aircraft on a runway at Haneda airport in Tokyo, catching fire. Five crew members on the Coast Guard plane died, while the surviving pilot was severely injured.
- The 367 passengers and 12 crew on the JAL flight all evacuated safely via emergency slides, though 11 passengers were hospitalized.
- The incident prompted the airport to shut down runways, but three reopened after emergency workers contained the fire.
- An investigation is ongoing to determine the cause, with Airbus pledging technical assistance. Airbus and others expressed condolences for the five Coast Guard crew killed in the “unfortunate event.”
January 2, 2024, Tokyo, Japan – Tokyo’s bustling Haneda airport witnessed a calamitous turn of events on Tuesday when a Japan Airlines flight collided with a Japan Coast Guard aircraft resulting in a fatal incident. The airplane, an Airbus A350 belonging to Japan Airlines, was on the tarmac when the unfortunate incident occurred.
The Incident Unfolds
The airplane, with hundreds of passengers on board, caught fire on one of the runways, following the collision. The information was confirmed by Tokyo Police and broadcasted by NHK, the national broadcaster of Japan. They reported that five out of six crew members aboard the Coast Guard plane lost their lives in this tragic incident. The surviving member being the pilot, who managed to evacuate albeit with severe injuries.
The Coast Guard plane was on a mission of mercy, heading towards Niigata, to provide assistance after the recent earthquake that struck the region.
Speaking about the incident, a representative from Japan Airlines reported that all 367 passengers and 12 JAL crew members on board their aircraft evacuated safely, despite the plane being enveloped by flames. Flight JL516 had left the northern island of Hokkaido, touching down at Haneda airport at 5:47 p.m. local time (3:47 a.m. ET).
The gravity of the situation was captured in videos shared on social media, showing passengers making a swift exit via emergency slides and sprinting across the tarmac to safety.
Medical Attention and Airport Shutdown
Japan Airlines confirmed that 11 of their passengers were transported to either a hospital or an airport clinic due to health concerns, though no additional information was provided regarding their condition.
The incident prompted the closure of all runways at Haneda, Asia-Pacific’s busiest airport in 2020, according to data from flight provider OAG. These precautionary measures allowed emergency workers to tackle the blaze effectively.
Below are posts on X (Twitter) social media featuring the incident that just transpired:
— Varun Rayen (@varunrayen) January 2, 2024
Japan Airlines plane in flames on runway at Tokyo's Haneda airport.
All 379 passengers and crew on board were evacuated.
— द्रोण 🔥 (@dronaparashar) January 2, 2024
All of the 379 passengers and crew on board the 🇯🇵Japan Airlines aircraft have been evacuated. pic.twitter.com/KOQR6jpBjm
— 𝔸𝕝𝕚 𝕊𝕙𝕒𝕙𝕓𝕒𝕫 ℂ𝕙𝕒𝕦𝕕𝕙𝕣𝕪 (@sospunjab) January 2, 2024
Recovery and Investigation
An official from the transport ministry later announced that three runways had resumed operation. The update was confirmed by Reuters. Tetsuo Saito, Japanese Transport Minister, addressed the situation shortly after 8:30 p.m., Tokyo time. The minister acknowledged the death of the five crew members on the Coast Guard plane and stated that the cause of the incident is still being determined.
Airbus, the European aircraft manufacturer of the Japan Airlines plane, has pledged to assist in the ongoing investigation. They will be sending a team of specialists to provide technical assistance to French and Japanese authorities.
Video: A350 Japan Airlines Collision in Haneda Airport
Here’s a video report showcasing the said incident and its aftermath.
Words of Sympathy
Airbus issued a statement expressing their condolences, saying, “Our concerns and sympathy go to the families, friends and loved ones affected by the accident.” As the investigation into this tragic incident continues, the thoughts of the aviation world are with those affected by this unfortunate event.
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. All 367 passengers and 12 crew members…
— Airbus (@Airbus) January 2, 2024