Five dead after JAL airliner crashes into quake aid plane at Tokyo airport


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TOKYO, Jan 2 (Reuters) – All 379 people aboard a Japan Airlines (JAL) plane escaped the burning airliner after a collision with a Coast Guard aircraft at Tokyo’s Haneda airport that killed five of six crew on the smaller aircraft on Tuesday.

Live footage on public broadcaster NHK showed the JAL Airbus A350 (9201.T)(AIR.PA) airliner burst into flames as it skidded down the tarmac shortly before 6 p.m. (0900 GMT).

Video and images shared on social media showed passengers shouting inside the plane’s smoke-filled cabin and running across the tarmac after escaping via an evacuation slide.

At one point a child’s voice can be heard shouting: “Let us get out quickly! Let us get out quickly!”

All 367 passengers and 12 crew were evacuated from the blazing airliner, but the fire was not extinguished until shortly after midnight, after burning for more than six hours, broadcaster TBS reported citing the fire department.

“I was wondering what happened and then I felt the airplane tilted to the side at the runway and felt a big bump,” said Satoshi Yamake, 59, a telecommunications company worker who was on board. “The flight attendants told us to stay calm and instructed us to get off the plane.”

Fourteen people on the passenger plane were injured, according to Japan Airlines, but none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

Transport Minister Tetsuo Saito confirmed that five of the Coast Guard aircraft’s crew had died, while the 39-year-old captain of the plane escaped but was injured.

A ministry official told a press briefing the JAL plane was attempting to land normally when it collided with the Coast Guard’s Bombardier-built Dash-8 maritime patrol plane on the runway.


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