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Japan Airlines A350-900 crash – what we know so far

Reports have been coming through about an incident at Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport which burst into flames on landing. This is still a developing story but here’s what we know so far.

Incident overview

The incident happened at one of Tokyo’s two international airports – Haneda International Airport – at 17.47 local time. A Japan Airlines A350 collided with a Japanese Coast Guard plane on landing, resulting in an explosion and the plane being quickly engulfed in flames after coming to a standstill.

Aircraft details

The aircraft involved in the accident was a Japan Airlines Airbus A350-900 registered JA13XJ. It is a 2 year old widebody aircraft.

The other plane involved was a Japan Coast Guard Bombardier DHC-8-300 with the registration code JA722A.

Flight information

The A350 was performing flight JL-516 from Sapporo to Tokyo Haneda.

According to Reuters, the Japan Coast Guard Bombardier was waiting to depart for Niigata in order to deliver aid following the earthquake on New Year’s Day.

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Weather conditions

The weather was said to be good at the time of the incident.

Passenger and crew information

The A350 had 367 passengers and 12 crew on board and was quickly engulfed in flames. Remarkably, all passengers and crew are said to have been evacuated safely.

The Japanese Transport Minister has confirmed that five crew members of crew from the Japan Coast Guard plane have died in the incident. The pilot of the smaller aircraft is said to have survived the incident but is in a critical condition.

Communication and distress signals

As yet, no reports of a distress signal having been issued appear to have been reported.

Investigation process

This is breaking news. A formal investigation is yet to happen.

Possible causes

Suffice to say at this stage that there was a collision on landing. Whether this was due to an air traffic control error or whether the plane landed in the wrong area is yet to be determined. The exact reasons for the collision will need to await the outcome of a formal investigation

Airline response

Japan Airlines is yet to publish a formal response to the incident.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Telegraph.

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4 Comments

  1. With this sort of case itโ€™s just as well to remember Mao Tse Tungโ€™s response (in the 1950s) to a question on the consequences of the French Revolution – โ€œItโ€™s too early to say.โ€

    On this sort of incident it usually takes a while for the full story to be discovered.

    1. Exactly, Geraldโ€ฆ whilst there are lots of possible theories being branded around on social media, it really requires a formal investigation to happen. Whatever the outcome of that, it is a tragic incident, but thankfully the efficient evacuation process appears to have saved many more people.

    2. Itโ€™s quite ghoulish and I really enjoy those air crash investigations that you get on TV. The amount of focus on tiny details is always very enlightening. In a way I can see why aircraft crash investigators choose that career.

  2. The story makes the news because itโ€™s quite exceptional. We forget how safe air travel is and how many million miles are flown safely.

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