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Five Japan Coast Guard Crewmembers Killed in Crash at Tokyo Airport

Japan Airlines Flight 516 catches fire on landing at Haneda Airport (security camera footage courtesy Haneda Airport)
Japan Airlines Flight 516 catches fire on landing at Haneda Airport (security camera footage courtesy Haneda Airport)

Published Jan 2, 2024 5:50 PM by The Maritime Executive

Japan's coast guard lost five servicemembers Tuesday in a fiery airplane collision at Tokyo's Haneda Airport, officials confirmed. 

That afternoon, a Japan Coast Guard Dash-8 SAR aircraft was in line for departure, bound for Niigata to deliver aid for victims of Japan's recent earthquake. As it waited on the tarmac, an Airbus A350 passenger plane - Japan Airlines Flight 516 - came in for a landing. At about 1747 hours, it collided with a Japan Coast Guard aircraft, causing both planes to catch fire.

Thanks to heroic efforts by the crew of Flight 516, all of the burning airliner's 379 occupants were evacuated. 17 sustained minor injuries, but there were no fatalities. 

Five out of the six members of the aircrew aboard the Japan Coast Guard plane were killed in the collision. 

An investigation into the cause of the crash is under way, with an initial focus on communications between Flight 516 and air traffic control. Airbus is participating in the inquiry.