It's currently unclear what could have caused the collision between the Japan Airlines passenger jet and the Japan Coast Guard aircraft.
A Japan Airlines Airbus plane burst into flames after colliding with a Japan Coast Guard aircraft on the ground at Tokyo’s Haneda airport on Tuesday. All 378 passengers and crew members on board the Airbus A350 widebody plane survived, but five people aboard the coast guard plane have died.
Here’s what else we know:
- Japan Airlines flight 516 had taken off from Hokkaido in northern Japan nearly two hours earlier (BBC).
- The coast guard aircraft was a Bombardier Dash-8 aircraft, according to Japan Coast Guard spokesperson Yoshinori Yanagishima.
- The coast guard said the collision involved one of its planes that was headed to Niigata airport on Japan’s west coast to deliver earthquake aid (Reuters).
- The coast guard plane was due to deliver aid to areas hit by an earthquake Monday (BBC).
- Shinegori Hiraoka, Japan’s director general of civil aviation bureau, said during a press conference that details of the collision and communications between the Japan Airlines aircraft and air traffic control were unclear.
- Following the crash, Haneda closed all its runways for several hours, according to Reuters. ANA, one of the largest airlines in Japan, also canceled 110 domestic flights departing and landing at Haneda.
- Japan’s Transport Minister Tetsuo Saito said the Japan Transport Safety Board, the police, along with other departments would investigate the incident. Airbus said it would provide technical assistance to the investigation and that it has already dispatched a team to assist the authorities.
- Japan Airlines said in a statement that it would fully cooperate with the investigation.
- The incident raises the possibility of new safety inspections that could impact A350 flying. The A350 is largely made of carbon fiber composite materials and the impact of fire on composite materials may have significant safety implications for the airline industry.
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