After colliding with a Japan Coast Guard plane, a Japan Airlines flight carrying hundreds of passengers caught fire on a runway at Tokyo’s Haneda airport on Tuesday.
According to Tokyo police, five of the six crew members on the Coast Guard aircraft have been confirmed dead, according to Japanese national broadcaster NHK. The pilot who ejected is said to be severely injured.
According to initial reports, the Coast Guard aircraft was en route to Niigata to provide relief for the recent earthquake.
According to a Japan Airlines spokesperson, all 367 passengers and 12 crew members were safely evacuated from the Japan Airlines Airbus A350 that was seen engulfed in flames.
JL516 took off from the northern island of Hokkaido and landed at Tokyo Haneda at 5:47 p.m.
Passengers were seen using an emergency evacuation slide and running across the tarmac in dramatic video footage shared on social media.
According to Japan Airlines, 11 passengers on board the burning plane were taken to a hospital or airport clinic due to illness. It didn’t say anything else about their condition.
All runways at Haneda airport were closed as firefighters battled the fire. According to flight data provider OAG, Tokyo’s Haneda airport was the busiest in the Asia-Pacific region last year.
According to Reuters, a transport ministry official stated that three runways have now reopened.
Japanese Transport Minister Tetsuo Saito issued an update shortly after 8:30 p.m. Tokyo time, confirming that five of the Coast Guard aircraft’s six crew members had died.
According to Reuters, Saito stated that the cause of the incident was still unknown.
Airbus, a European planemaker, said it is sending a team of experts to help French and Japanese authorities investigate the collision at Haneda Airport.
“Our concerns and sympathy go to the families, friends, and loved ones affected by the accident,” Airbus said in a statement on Tuesday.