Plane catches fire after runway collision at Japan airport

Plane catches fire after runway collision at Japan airport

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A passenger plane collided with a Japan Coast Guard aircraft on the tarmac of Tokyo’s busy Haneda airport on Tuesday, setting the aircraft aflame, local media reported Tuesday.

All 379 passengers and the crew of Japan Airlines’s (JAL) Airbus A350 aircraft and its crew escaped before the plane was engulfed by a massive fire. Five of the six crew members aboard the coast guard’s MA-722 aircraft died as a result of the collision.

Only the captain managed to escape, according to reporting.

Local broadcasts showed the plane bursting into flames as it slid down the tarmac at about 5:50 p.m. local time, according to Japan Today. Rescue teams tried to control the fire but it was soon overwhelmed by massive flames.

The prime minister’s office directed all relevant agencies to coordinate their response in “sparing no effort to save lives and rescue victims.”

The coast guard said, according to local media, that their plane was on its way to Niigata Airport on the West Coast to deliver aid to victims of the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that occurred on New Year’s Day.

Shigenori Hiraoka, head of the Transport Ministry Civil Aviation Bureau, said the collision occurred when the JAL plane landed on one of Haneda’s four runways where the coast guard aircraft was preparing to take off, according to the Associated Press.

Officials were looking into communication between aviation control officials and the aircrafts to determine what led to the collision, the AP reported.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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