Key moments of Tokyo runway collision
Key moments of Tokyo runway collision
Key moments of Tokyo runway collision
by DZRH News06 January 2024
FILE PHOTO: Japan Airlines' A350 airplane is on fire at Haneda international airport in Tokyo, Japan January 2, 2024. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

By Mariko Katsumura

TOKYO (Reuters) -Crews at Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Friday started clearing the charred wreckage of a Japan Airlines (JAL) plane that collided with a Coast Guard turboprop on the runway on Tuesday.

Below is a timeline of events surrounding the collision. All 379 people on board the Airbus A350 jet escaped, but five of the six crew on the Coast Guard craft died as they set off to deliver aid to an earthquake zone.

All times are in Japan Standard Time.


JAN. 1, 2024

4:10 p.m. (0710 GMT) - A magnitude 7.6 earthquake strikes Japan's west coast and thousands of rescue crews including Coast Guard planes stationed at Haneda Airport scrambled to help.

6 p.m. - The Coast Guard plane that would later be destroyed in the runway collision sets off from Haneda on a 3-1/2 hour aerial survey of the earthquake zone, returning to the airport at about 9:30 p.m.

11 p.m. - The Coast Guard plane sets off again for the disaster zone, ferrying a crew of rescue workers.


JAN. 2, 2024

2:30 a.m. - The Coast Guard plane returns to Haneda from its second mission to the disaster zone.

4:15 p.m. - JAL flight 516 bound for Haneda leaves New Chitose Airport in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido with 367 passengers and 12 crew members aboard. The route is one of the world's busiest, with JAL operating 16 round-trips daily.

4:45 p.m. - The doomed Coast Guard plane leaves its hangar at Haneda for its third mission in 24 hours to the earthquake zone, carrying food and water supplies.


5:45 p.m. - Air traffic control at Haneda, one of the world's busiest airports, tells JL516 it is clear to land at runway 34R. The instructions are repeated back by the pilot, according to control tower transcripts released by authorities.

5:45 p.m. - Seconds later, air traffic control orders the Coast Guard plane to taxi to a holding point near the same runway, instructions that also appear to have been read back in acknowledgement, the transcripts show.

5:47 p.m. - The JAL jet collides with the Coast Guard turboprop as it lands on the runway, authorities said. Airline officials later said the JAL pilot could likely not see the smaller plane below before it was too late. The passenger jet, in flames, skidded down the runway for about 1 km (0.62 mile) before coming to a halt.

About 5:50 p.m. - After the JAL plane stops, cabin crew try to calm agitated passengers as the cabin begins filling with smoke, according to witness accounts and video footage. Outside, scores of firefighters try desperately to control the blaze.


5:55 p.m. - The only survivor from the Coast Guard plane, its captain Genki Miyamoto, 39, radios his base after pulling himself from the wreckage. "The aircraft exploded on the runway. I escaped. The (condition of the) other crew members is unknown," he said, according to the Coast Guard.

6:05 p.m. - The captain of the JAL plane leaves the aircraft after an evacuation airline officials described as textbook despite problems with the intercom systems and some of the emergency chutes being inaccessible due to the fire.

6:15 p.m. - Escaped passengers reported a loud explosion coming from the aircraft, which then became totally engulfed in flames. "It was a miracle, we could have died if we were late," said one passenger, 28-year-old Tsubasa Sawada.

8:30 p.m. - Transport minister confirms earlier media reports that five of the Coast Guard crew died in the accident. The surviving captain Miyamoto suffered burns all over his body, a Coast Guard official said.


JAN. 3, 2024

About 2:15 a.m. - The fire on the JAL plane is finally extinguished, leaving a charred husk. It marks the first time a modern lightweight airliner has burnt down, and is being seen as a test case for how well a new generation of carbon-composite airplanes copes with a catastrophic fire.

(Reporting by Mariko Katsumura; Editing by John Geddie, Jamie Freed and Tomasz Janowski)

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