NewsTokyo airport disaster: 5 dead as Coast Guard plane collides with passenger jet

Tokyo airport disaster: 5 dead as Coast Guard plane collides with passenger jet

Disaster at the airport in Tokyo. Was it the pilot's fault?
Disaster at the airport in Tokyo. Was it the pilot's fault?
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6:06 AM EST, January 4, 2024

The incident transpired on Tuesday (January 2nd) at 1:47 AM Eastern Time. The airplane collided with a Coast Guard aircraft during landing. Some witnesses have observed one of the engines scraping the runway during the landing maneuver, implying that a fire could have been ignited.

The outcomes were severe. Five crew members of the Coast Guard plane perished in the incident. The captain, who had fortunately evacuated early on, is critically injured.

Three hundred seventy-nine people were onboard the passenger plane, the Airbus A350 (367 passengers and 12 crew members). Everyone was successfully evacuated. Analysts maintain that the passengers and crew members' survival can be attributed to adherence to the flight crew's instructions and leaving their luggage behind.

The Ministry of Transport will present objective documentation and fully cooperate during the investigation to ensure that we collectively implement all feasible safety measures to avert a repeat of such a disaster - Japanese Minister of Transport Tetsuo Saito informed the press following the disaster.

Who was responsible for the Japanese disaster?

A few days after the accident, we learn about the circumstances leading up to the disaster. Air traffic control protocol revealed that the Coast Guard plane collided with the Japan Airlines passenger jet earlier this week and was not cleared for takeoff.

As reported by Bloomberg, it was confirmed that the Coast Guard plane was asked to taxi to a position near Haneda Airport's runway in Tokyo late Tuesday afternoon local time.

In a statement reiterated by Japanese media, the airplane's captain claimed, post the incident, that he was given "permission to take off", but the air traffic control transcriptions contradict his claim. Bloomberg stated that somebody from the Coast Guard plane confirmed the taxiing orders, not the takeoff commencement.

"Taxi to holding point C5 JA722A number 1, thank you," Bloomberg quoted from the transcript. It remains uncertain whether the person speaking was the captain or his co-pilot.
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