(RightWing.org) – The Japanese Coast Guard (JCG) has been busy the last few days providing assistance and delivering aid to victims of a 7.6 magnitude earthquake that struck the Sea of Japan on New Year’s Day, triggering roughly 150 aftershocks and tsunami waves. Making matters worse, one of its aircraft was involved in a midair crash with a commercial carrier, involving hundreds of civilian passengers plus the crew members on both airplanes.
Live air traffic tracking service FlightRadar24 reported that Japanese Airlines flight JL516 collided with a JCG aircraft while approaching a runway at Haneda International Airport at 5:47 p.m. local time. Both airplanes were attempting to land at Tokyo airport when the midair crash occurred.
Japan Airlines flight #JL516 collided with a Japan Coast Guard aircraft and caught fire, during landing at Tokyo Haneda Airport runway 34R.
The accident happened at 08:47:32 UTC (17:47:32 local time).
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) January 2, 2024
The wide-body twin-engine Airbus A350-941 jet airliner burst into flames as it skidded down the airport’s tarmac. Miraculously, all 379 people onboard the commercial carrier survived the incident, including 367 passengers and a dozen crew members. However, 17 of the evacuated passengers onboard the Japanese Airline’s jet suffered injuries.
Sadly, the same couldn’t be said for the occupants of the JCG’s De Havilland Canada DHC-8-315Q maritime patrol plane. Media outlets reported that Tetsuo Saito, Japan’s Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, confirmed that five of the six crew members on that flight perished as a result of the crash. Officials with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department confirmed that the pilot managed to escape but was severely injured.
Local news agency Kyodo News reported that airport officials temporarily shut down all four of its runways in the wake of the crash. Japan’s Transport Ministry confirmed that regular services returned to the three not impacted directly by the collision at roughly 9:30 p.m.
The JCG’s Vice Commandant, Yosio Seguchi, held a brief press conference later that night. He told reporters that losing five guardsmen was “extremely regrettable.” He also offered condolences to the families of the deceased guard members.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called for a swift investigation into the circumstances surrounding the collision. He vowed to provide additional information as more became available.
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