On Monday evening, a tragic incident occurred at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, where a Japan Airlines passenger plane collided with a coast guard aircraft transporting humanitarian aid for earthquake victims. As a result of the collision, the JAL plane caught fire and burned on the runway, while the coast guard aircraft crashed in a nearby field. Five crew members of the coast guard lost their lives on the spot, and the pilot sustained serious injuries. Onboard the JAL plane were 379 individuals, including eight children, who managed to evacuate without serious injuries. Screams of passengers and visible smoke can be heard in recordings from inside the plane. Some passengers described the situation as “hell.”
The cause of the collision is not yet known and is being investigated by authorities. Transport Minister Tetsuo Saito stated that Haneda Airport may reopen on the same day or at the latest the next day. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed regret and sorrow over the disaster, offering condolences to the families of the victims. He added that authorities would work to ensure that the accident does not hinder the ongoing rescue efforts after the earthquake that struck western Japan on New Year’s and claimed at least 48 lives.
Written by: Patryk Zbik
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