by Khan Muzamil
SRINAGAR: Amidst the urgent cries of flight attendants prompting evacuation, an orange glow enveloped the Airbus A350. At Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, Japan Airlines Flight collided with a coastguard plane on the runway, resulting in a fiery scene captured on video.
Japan Airlines Flight 516 in flames at Haneda Airport (from inside the plane’s point of view) pic.twitter.com/DKO6hhYHYS
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Despite the perilous circumstances, the flight crew executed a successful evacuation of all 379 passengers, lauded as a “miraculous job” by aviation expert Roger Whitfield.
Regrettably, the collision claimed the lives of five coastguard members en route to support earthquake relief efforts in Western Japan, as confirmed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
Describing the harrowing moment, a passenger shared footage on social media, highlighting the fear that gripped the cabin. Prime Minister Kishida expressed condolences for the loss of the coastguard crew while commending the evacuation efforts.
The incident led to a temporary closure of Haneda Airport’s runways, and despite firefighting efforts, the Airbus A350 eventually broke apart while skidding down the runway in flames.
The collision, occurring during the landing of Flight 516, raised concerns about airport safety protocols. Former pilot Roger Whitfield emphasised the miraculous nature of the crew’s accomplishment in evacuating all passengers safely.
“I think first of all, you’ve got to say that we just witnessed a miracle. For the crew to have got all the passengers off, it’s a miracle. There’s no two ways about it,” Roger Whitfield, former pilot said, as reported by Sky News.
“The aircraft exploded on the runway. I escaped. The [condition of the] other crew members is unknown,” said Genki Miyamoto, the coastguard plane pilot.
“I felt a boom like we had hit something and jerked upward the moment we landed,” recounted an unnamed passenger in a statement to Kyodo news agency.