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Japan Airlines Pilots Initially Unaware of Fire, Incident Investigation Underway

Tokyo, January 04, 2024, The Europe Today: Details emerging on Thursday revealed that the pilots of the Japan Airlines plane, which ignited in flames after landing at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, were initially unaware of the fire until informed by the cabin crew.

The collision with a coast guard plane resulted in a ball of flame erupting from the aircraft, prompting the urgent need for evacuation. The chief flight attendant, among nine crew members, reported the fire to the cockpit as passengers anxiously awaited permission to open emergency exits. Smoke filled the cabin, and videos captured the intense moments as passengers pleaded for evacuation.

Despite eight emergency exits, only two at the front were initially used due to the fire. The rear left exit, considered safe, faced communication challenges, but the crew opened it urgently, employing megaphones to guide passengers. The evacuation took 18 minutes, with the pilot being the last to disembark.

Subsequently, the aircraft became engulfed in flames, requiring eight hours for firefighting efforts. Passengers described panic, uncertainty, and moments of fear during the harrowing incident.

Passengers aboard the Japan Airlines plane involved in the Tokyo Haneda Airport incident were praised for following evacuation procedures diligently, leaving their cabin bags behind as instructed by airline experts. Terence Fan, an airline industry expert from Singapore Management University, commended the passengers, noting that evacuation policies are designed with the understanding that the aircraft itself may not withstand a fire. Unfortunately, at least one pet dog and one cat had to be left onboard and did not survive, according to the airline. Investigations by teams from Japan, France, Britain, and Canada were ongoing, examining the wreckage on one of Haneda’s runways.

The flight recorder and voice recorder from the coast guard plane were recovered, but efforts continued to locate those of the passenger jet. Transcripts of flight controllers’ communications released by the transport ministry indicated approval for the JAL flight’s landing, while the coast guard plane received instructions to move to a designated area near the runway. Earlier reports suggested the pilot, Genki Miyamoto, claimed immediate permission to take off after the accident.