Two planes collided at an airport near the city of Saporo, on the island of Hokkaido, in northern Japan, this Tuesday (16), according to the airlines involved. The incident comes just two weeks after a landing Airbus collided with a Coast Guard aircraft and left 5 people dead in Tokyo.
No one was injured in Tuesday’s collision, which involved planes from Korean Air and Cathay Pacific. According to NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, the incident occurred at around 5:30 pm local time, at Shin-Chitose airport — the facility had been the departure location of the Airbus involved in the accident at the beginning of the month.
NHK images from the scene showed a thick layer of snow on the ground. The airport had earlier warned of delays and cancellations due to the extreme weather situation — more than 80 domestic and international flights were canceled due to the bad weather.
Cathay Pacific said its aircraft was “struck by a Korean Air A330, which was taxiing”, adding that its plane was parked and without passengers or crew at the time of the crash.
Korean Air confirmed that its plane “made contact” with the Cathay aircraft during pushback, when planes are towed to areas on the runway where they can taxi. “There were no injuries and the airline is cooperating with all relevant authorities,” Korean Air said in a statement.
According to the Kyodo news agency, the South Korean company’s plane was on its way to Seoul with 289 passengers and crew on board. The agency said the Airbus A330 suffered damage to the left wing, while the Cathay Boeing 777-300 was damaged near the right tail.
The January 2 incident that left people dead at Tokyo’s Haneda airport is still under investigation. At the time, the Japan Airlines aircraft with 367 passengers and 12 crew caught fire shortly after the collision, but everyone present managed to escape and only 17 people were injured.
In a transcript of communications between the air traffic control tower and the Japan Airlines jet and the Coast Guard plane, it appeared that the commercial flight had been given permission to land while the Coast Guard aircraft had been instructed to “taxi to the waiting point” next to the runway.
“I felt a bang as if we had hit something,” a passenger told Kyodo news agency. “I saw sparks outside the window and the cabin was full of gas and smoke.”