Tragic Collision at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport Kills Five: The Cause and Fallout

TOKYO, JAPAN – Authorities are investigating a tragic collision that occurred at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, resulting in the deaths of five individuals. The collision involved a Japan Airlines passenger jet and a Japan Coast Guard plane on the airport’s runway. The accident led to the deaths of five out of six crew members on the Coast Guard plane, while all 379 passengers and crew on the JAL flight were evacuated safely, although 14 passengers sustained minor injuries and the Coast Guard pilot suffered severe injuries.

The Airbus A350-900, operating as Japan Airlines Flight JAL-516, was making a routine landing on Runway C when the collision and subsequent fire occurred. Passengers on the jet had to utilize evacuation slides to escape the aircraft before it was engulfed in flames. The collision took place after dark, and it was suggested that the relatively small size and wingspan of the Coast Guard plane may have made it challenging to detect.

As the investigation into the cause of the crash continues, it was revealed that the Coast Guard plane was not equipped with a modern ADS-B transponder, which may have contributed to the collision. ADS-B, or Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, provides essential information about an aircraft’s position and identification and is considered more accurate than conventional radar systems.

The Coast Guard plane was on a relief mission to deliver supplies to Niigata following a devastating earthquake, while the JAL flight was arriving from New Chitose Airport in Sapporo. Airbus, the manufacturer of the JAL passenger jet, announced plans to send specialists to assist in the crash investigation. It’s worth noting that fatal accidents in the aviation industry are becoming increasingly rare, according to the International Air Transport Association. In 2022, there were only five accidents with deaths among passengers and crew, down from seven in 2021.

As the investigation into the tragic collision at Haneda Airport continues, authorities are working to determine the cause of the collision and fire, while aviation experts emphasize the rarity of fatal commercial air crashes in the industry.