In the early stages of the year 2024, Japan has been shaken by a devastating earthquake, a tsunami warning and has witnessed the brutal collision of two planes which triggered a fire of alarming proportions. In Tuesday’s dramatic air incident, a Japan Airlines Airbus A350-900 with 367 passengers and 12 crew on board crashed into another plane upon landing in the Haneda Airport, in Tokyo. The shocking attack caused both aircraft to burst into flames, plunging the runway into hellish chaos, and, after the death of 5 Japanese coast guard crew members was confirmed, it triggered a devastating scene that raised questions about air safety in the Asian country.
The airport of the Japanese capital witnessed, at 17:47 local time, of the shocking air disaster, while the Japan Airlines Airbus yun Bombardier Dash 8-300 of the Japanese Coast Guard They collided causing a massive explosion and the complete closure of the airfield. The causes of the incident are being investigated.
The one from Japan Airlines, registered as JA13XJ and delivered in November 2021, carried out a domestic flight from New Chitose Airport in Sapporo, and according to security and airport videos, he was executing a routine approach to runway 34R when, upon touching down, a terrible explosion occurred. At that moment he lost the front landing gear and slid, engulfed in flames, to a stop in the middle of the runway. In a heroic act, the terrified passengers and crew managed to evacuate the aircraft trying to remain calm and using the emergency slides. This tragic event marks the first time that an Airbus A350 has suffered a total hull loss since its entry into service in 2014.
On the other hand, the Japanese Coast Guard reported that the Dash 8-300MPA turboprop was preparing to take off in Haneda bound for Niigata Air Base with supplies to help the affected area by the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan on Monday. After disappearing, it was reported that five of his crew died and the captain survived.
The Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism stated that it is investigating the unfortunate incident. “I have never heard of a collision of such magnitude at an airport in Japan,” said aviation analyst Yoshitomo Aoki. “The world’s air control systems are designed to avoid accidentsas long as the air traffic controllers give the correct instructions and the pilots follow them,” the expert explained.
According to the Flightradar24 application, around 6:00 p.m. local time all runways at Haneda airport were closed and flights were diverted to other parts of the country. Haneda is the busiest airfield in the country, with nearly 90 million passengers in 2019, before the outbreak of the pandemic. It should be noted that this incident occurs during one of the busiest periods of travelers of the year, in which millions of Japanese travel to and from their places of origin for the New Year holidays.
In recent years, Japan has witnessed several aviation accidents that have left a deep mark on the country. In a fateful event that will remain etched in aviation memory, Japan Airlines Flight 123 became the scene of an unprecedented tragedy. On August 12, 1985, The Boeing 747SR, registered as JA8119, covered the route between Haneda International Airport in Tokyo and Osaka. However, 44 minutes after takeoff, the device crashed at the top of Mount Takamagahara, about 100 km from Tokyo, due to decompression. In the accident, all 15 crew members and 505 of the 509 passengers lost their lives, including the renowned singer Kyu Sakamoto. The total balance amounted to 520 victimsleaving a deep international mourning.
This event went down in history as the worst air disaster with a single plane involved and the second on the list of deadliest aviation accidents of all time, only surpassed by the 1977 collision in Tenerife. It should be noted that the attacks of September 11, 2001 are excluded, since these were terrorist acts and not accidental.
Another fatality occurred in 1994, when All Nippon Airways Flight 350 crashed while landing at Haneda International Airport of Tokyo, resulting in 24 deaths and multiple injuries. Additionally, China Airlines Flight 120, a scheduled flight from Taoyuan International Airport in Taiwan to Naha International Airport in Okinawa, was involved in a tragedy on August 20, 2007. After landing, the Boeing 737-800 caught fire and It exploded due to a loose bolt that pierced a fuel tank, causing four people to be injured.
All of these incidents led to greater scrutiny of Japanese aviation safety and the implementation of stricter measures to prevent future accidents.