Airlines Aircraft Erupts in Flames, Miraculous Survival of Passengers and Crew

( – Five people aboard a Coast Guard aircraft carrying resources for Japan’s earthquake relief efforts were killed Jan. 2 following a collision with a Japan Airlines (JAL) aircraft at the Haneda airport in Tokyo.

The JAL plane was landing when it collided on the runway with the Coast Guard’s aircraft, which had been headed to JCG airbase in Niigata prefecture. The Bombardier-built Dash-8 maritime patrol aircraft was one of four Coast Guard planes assisting in the relief efforts from the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that occurred Jan 1. According to a JAL spokesperson, its plane had departed from Japan’s New Chitose airport, located on the northern island of Hokkaido.

Video shows the JAL aircraft burst into flames as it skids down the runway following the landing. Though the JAL aircraft had received permission to land, the communications between the airline and flight control were still under investigation, according to a JAL official.

All of the 367 passengers and 12 crew onboard the JAL aircraft were able to escape the burning plane following the collision. According to reports from the Tokyo Fire Department, 17 people were injured in the crash, including the captain of the Coast Guard aircraft, who is being treated at a Tokyo hospital.

A video on social media shows the JAL plane engulfed in flames as passengers run to safety after escaping the burning aircraft using the evacuation slide. In another video, flight attendants urge people to “please cooperate” and to stay calm.

According to a passenger onboard the JAL plane, when they landed, there was a “boom like we had hit something.”

Another passenger, Tsubasa Sawada, 28, said, “I really thought I was going to die” after seeing sparks coming out of the engine.

The airport was closed for several hours while authorities investigated the collision. The collision is under investigation by the Transport Safety Board, police and other departments, though the cause of the accident remains unclear.

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