Tokyo, Jan 2 (EFE).-
Five people were killed when a Japan Airlines plane burst into flames at Tokyo’s Haneda airport on Tuesday after a possible collision with a Coast Guard aircraft that had departed to provide relief to those affected by a devastating earthquake on the nation’s west coast.
Kyodo news agency reported that five of the six crew members aboard the Coast Guard plane were confirmed dead. However, all 379 passengers and crew onboard the commercial aircraft were successfully evacuated from the burning plane.
Footage on broadcaster NHK showed flames billowing from the aircraft surrounded by a thick cloud of black smoke after arriving from New Chitose airport in Hokkaido, northern Japan.
While the cause of the fire is unknown, initial reports suggest a possible collision with a Japanese Coast Guard aircraft. “We are currently assessing the extent of the damage,” the airline said, as reported by NHK. TV footage showed multiple fire trucks at the scene as emergency services were deployed to extinguish the flames.
The plane, an Airbus A350, carried 367 passengers and 12 crew members. NHK said the captain of the Coast Guard plane evacuated, but the other five crew members on the flight were unaccounted for.
The Coast Guard plane was en route to its base at Niigata airport to deliver relief aid for those affected by the magnitude-7.6 earthquake that struck the Noto Peninsula on the west coast on Monday.
No adverse weather conditions were reported by the Japanese Coast Guard or the Meteorological Agency.
Japan is known for its aviation safety standards, as it has not suffered a major commercial air accident in decades.
Its most severe incident occurred in 1985, when a Japan Airlines (JAL) jumbo jet flying from Tokyo to Osaka crashed in the central Gunma region, resulting in the deaths of 520 passengers and crew.
The accident ranks among the world’s deadliest plane crashes involving a single flight. EFE emg-ssk