Multiple Dead After Airport Tragedy

Multiple Dead After Airport Tragedy

( – A massive 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit Japan on New Year’s Day. More than 60 people are dead. One of the Coast Guard crews that were responding to the quake is also dead after a tarmac accident at a Tokyo airport.

On January 2, Japan Airlines (JAL) Flight 516 landed at Haneda Airport. When the Airbus A350 airplane came in for the landing, it struck a smaller Japan Coast Guard plane, killing five of the crew members. A sixth crew member, the captain, escaped with injuries.

The JAL flight was carrying 379 crew members and passengers. When it collided with the other plane, it burst into flames. The flight crew quickly reacted, deployed the emergency inflatable slide at the exit door, and calmly ordered passengers to evacuate the flight. One by one, the passengers slid down the slide to safety. The crew was able to get everyone off of the plane before they heard an explosion, and an even bigger fire erupted.

Videos of the crash show the passengers sliding to safety and helping the others who went before them.

Satoshi Yamake, 59, who was on board the flight when it crashed, spoke with Reuters and said the flight crew told everyone “to stay calm and instructed [them] to get off the plane.”

Aviation experts told BBC that the flight crew’s training and quick thinking is the reason everyone was able to safely get off the plane. Only 14 people suffered injuries in the evacuation, and they were all reportedly minor.

Experts also said the aircraft’s design proved helpful during the evacuation. Manufacturers have to prove their planes can be evacuated within 90 seconds in order to be recognized internationally. The JAL flight crew got everyone off the plane very quickly, though the exact time isn’t known yet.

The crash is under investigation, but officials from JAL claimed the passenger flight received permission to land before it touched down.

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