Japan Airlines says jet cleared to land before collision

Japanese investigators on Wednesday probed a near-catastrophic collision at Tokyo's Haneda Airport between a coast guard plane and a passenger jet that airline executives have said was given permission to land.

Five people on the coast guard aircraft died, but all 379 passengers and crew escaped to safety down emergency slides minutes before the Japan Airlines Airbus was engulfed in flames late Tuesday.

The burned-out husk of the airliner, still sitting on the tarmac Wednesday, bore witness to just how narrow their escape had been.

The captain of the coast guard plane — which had been carrying aid to the New Year's Day earthquake zone — was its lone survivor but suffered serious injuries.

Footage on Tuesday showed a ball of fire erupting and thick black smoke from underneath the airliner shortly after landing and coming to a halt on its nose after its front landing gear failed.

Passengers could be seen sliding down inflatable slides as flames shot out from the rear of the aircraft in video posted to social media platform X.

As the plane was evacuated, dozens of fire engines with blue and red flashing lights tried to douse the flames but the entire plane was soon engulfed and it took eight hours to finally extinguish the blaze.

"As soon as we landed, there was a 'bang'. And I noticed a blaze rising from the right side," a female passenger on board told broadcaster NHK.

"It was getting hot inside the plane, and I thought, to be honest, I would not survive."

"I thought we landed normally. But then I realised I was smelling smoke. I looked outside and it was already burning," a woman with a small child told NHK.

"I needed to protect my daughter. That was only thing in my mind."


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