In a miraculous incident, all 379 people on board a Japan Airlines plane survived a devastating fire after it collided with a Coast Guard aircraft at Tokyo's Haneda airport today. However, five out of the six crew of the Coast Guard aircraft died in the crash while the captain escaped.
Japan Airlines' Airbus A350-900 aircraft ignited after flying into Haneda from the country's northern city of Sapporo at 5:47 PM local time.
A live broadcast showed the Japan Airlines Airbus A350 bursting into flames as it slid across the tarmac post-landing, eventually being consumed by fire despite intense firefighting efforts, but all 367 passengers and 12 crew members were successfully evacuated. Local fire services confirmed that 17 people on board the Japan Airlines plane were injured.
Video footage showed the Japan Airlines' jet consumed by a large fireball as it moved down the runway. The plane was then seen at a standstill with people using emergency slides to flee the inferno as firefighters tried to battle the growing flames.
Social media was abuzz with harrowing images and videos of passengers in panic inside the smoke-engulfed cabin, later running across the runway from the blaze.
A Coast Guard spokesperson said that the collision involved its aircraft that had left for the Niigata airport on Japan's west coast, carrying aid for the victims of the recent New Year's Day earthquake, which resulted in at least 48 fatalities. More than 100 fire trucks were dispatched in response to the accident.
A Japan Airlines spokesperson said that the flight had originated from Shin-Chitose Airport in Hokkaido. JAL is investigating the details and cause of the plane fire.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida directed pertinent agencies to quickly evaluate the situation and keep the public informed.
Following the crash, the Haneda airport has temporarily shut down all its runways, as reported by an airport spokesperson. Being one of the busiest airports in Japan, Haneda sees high traffic, especially during the New Year holidays.
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