Plane crash in Tokyo: Pilots didn't realize it was on fire - "18-minute miracle" evacuation

The flight attendant informed the pilots of the fire and the evacuation began

Screenshot 11 1 PLANE, fire

New details are emerging daily about the horrific accident that occurred on the second day of the year at Tokyo's Haneda Airport, when a Japan Airlines Airbus with 379 passengers collided on the runway with a small Coast Guard aircraft (a Bombardier Dash-8). with the consequence that both were engulfed in flames and five people lost their lives.

According to what was reported to the BBC by a representative of Japan Airlines (JAL), the Airbus pilots did not realize that the aircraft had caught fire after the collision and a flight attendant was the one who informed them. After that, all procedures were initiated to carry out the evacuation of all 379 passengers (367 passengers and 12 crew members) with absolute precision.

"Immediately after the plane landed, the pilot felt a sudden knock and lost control, trying to keep it on the runway. There was a fire, but the pilots didn't notice it at first... They learned about it through the cabin crew," a JAL spokesperson said.

There were three pilots and 12 flight attendants on board when the crash occurred. The plane's public address system had been damaged, causing the crew members to grab loudspeakers and start shouting to give the necessary instructions to the passengers.

"The first thing the flight attendants did, after realizing there were passengers who realized their plane was on fire, was to ask them to stay calm and not stand up, which could make escape very difficult. The announcement system was useless so the instructions were sent without it.'

Japanese media described the evacuation as a "miracle that took place within 18 minutes". Passengers dropped their carry-on bags, ran to the emergency exits and "slid" out of the plane before it burst into flames.

"As smoke began to enter the cabin and spread, flight attendants began shouting at passengers, saying: 'Put your things down!', 'Take off your heels (for women)' and 'Keep your head down'," the spokesman said.

Their "cooperation was key to enabling all passengers to escape quickly and safely," he added.

The pilots also said they had no visual contact with the Coast Guard plane, so they didn't even discuss aborting their landing, the reports added.

The conversations with the air traffic controller are revealing

Japanese authorities said yesterday that the passenger jet had been cleared to land but the smaller plane had not been cleared to take off, based on transcripts of air traffic controller instructions to the planes that collided.

The 379 passengers and crew of flight JAL516 managed to get off the plane after it collided with a smaller Japanese coast guard aircraft.

The collision caused an explosion and the Japan Airlines Airbus A350 caught fire. It was completely destroyed after all passengers and 12 crew members were removed. It took eight hours to extinguish the fire, according to the fire department.

Five of the six people on board the Coast Guard De Havilland Dash-8 were killed, with the pilot able to escape, although seriously injured.

The plane was preparing to take off to deliver emergency supplies to those affected by Monday's earthquake in Ishikawa Prefecture.

Authorities have only just begun investigations into the cause of the crash and there is uncertainty over the circumstances of the crash, including how the two planes ended up on the same runway, just weeks after the global aviation industry received safety warnings of the corridors.

Transcripts of control tower instructions released by authorities appear to show that the Japan Airlines plane had been cleared to land, but that the Coast Guard plane had been told to taxi to a holding point near the runway.

A Japanese civil aviation official told reporters there was no indication in those transcripts that the coast guard plane had been cleared to take off.

His captain said he entered the runway after receiving permission, according to a Coast Guard official, while admitting that there is no indication in the transcripts that he was given permission to do so.

"The Ministry of Transport is submitting objective material and will fully cooperate with the ... investigation to ensure that we work together to take all possible safety measures to prevent a possible recurrence," Transport Minister Tetsuo Saito told reporters.

Japan's Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident involving agencies in France, where the Airbus plane was made, and Britain, where the two Rolls-Royce engines were made, people familiar with the matter said.

The Council recovered the voice recorder from the Coast Guard aircraft, authorities said.

Meanwhile, Tokyo police are investigating whether possible human negligence led to the deaths and injuries, multiple media outlets, including Kyodo news agency and Nikkei business newspaper, reported.

A police spokesman said a special unit has been set up to investigate the runway and intends to take statements from those involved.

"There is a high possibility that it was human error," said Hiroyuki Kobayashi, a former JAL pilot. "Normally only one aircraft is allowed to enter the runway, but despite being cleared to land, the Coast Guard aircraft was on the runway," he added.