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Deadly Collision at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport: JAL Plane Hits Coast Guard Aircraft

Near miss for 400 JAL passengers, tragic loss of five Coast Guard crew in runway accident amidst earthquake relief efforts
Japan
j 9201.TSE Mid and Small Cap 2000
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In a tragic turn of events, a Japan Airlines (JAL) plane collided with a Japan Coast Guard aircraft while landing at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on Tuesday evening, leading to a dramatic escape for passengers and crew. The Airbus A350, operating as flight 516 from New Chitose Airport, Sapporo, was seen burning on the runway in televised footage.

Miraculously, nearly 400 passengers and crew aboard the JAL flight evacuated safely, though 17 sustained injuries, as reported by NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster. However, the collision resulted in the loss of five Coast Guard crew members, with the captain critically injured.

Shigenori Hiraoka of the Civil Aviation Bureau highlighted the need for a detailed investigation into the cause of the accident, including air traffic control communications. JAL’s Noriyuki Aoki stated that while air traffic control had cleared the JAL flight for landing, the specifics of the clearance needed verification.

Airbus has pledged technical support for the ongoing investigation, dispatching a team of experts. This incident comes at a particularly challenging time for Japan, following a major earthquake off its Sea of Japan coast, which the Coast Guard aircraft was aiding.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida commended the professional response of JAL and airport staff in ensuring the passengers’ safety. He also paid tribute to the Coast Guard personnel, acknowledging their dedication to earthquake relief efforts.

This accident is the most severe for JAL in decades, shadowed only by the catastrophic flight 123 crash in 1985. Following the collision, Haneda Airport suspended all flights, later reopening three of its four runways. An official from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism warned of potential operational impacts at the airport.

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