Japan Airlines pilot had no 'visual contact' before crash

Japan Airlines pilot had no 'visual contact' before crash

The pilot of a Japan Airlines jet that burst into flames shortly after all 379 people on board ejected had no “visual contact” with the other aircraft that crashed, the airline said Thursday.

A JAL spokesperson told AFP that the three pilots could not see the fire from the cockpit when it first broke out and were alerted by flight attendants.

The passenger plane collided with a Japan Coast Guard plane after landing at Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Tuesday night. All but one of the six people on board the small plane died.

Before the plane could come to a stop, a fireball exploded, consuming it in huge flames and ultimately leaving a charred shell on the runway.

However, JAL said the pilots had no “visual contact” with the other plane, but one of them spotted an “object” just before the collision.

“After the plane landed, they said they felt an impact within those few seconds when the front wheels touched or were about to touch the ground,” the spokesperson said.

NHK reported that the chief flight attendant, one of nine people on board, reported to the cockpit that the plane was on fire because flight attendants needed permission to open the emergency exits.

By this time, the cabin was filled with smoke and hot, and footage showed a baby crying and people pleading for the door to be opened.

In one video clip, a young voice can be heard shouting: please. Open it, please. Just open it. oh my god. ”

There were eight emergency exits, but due to the fire, evacuations began through two slides at the front of the plane.

Unable to request the cockpit because the intercom system was malfunctioning, the crew opened a third exit on their own at the rear.

~“Textbook” evacuation~
It took 18 minutes for the entire plane to be evacuated, with the pilot finally stepping onto the tarmac at 6:05 p.m.

Immediately afterward, the plane was in hellish conditions, and dozens of fire engines were involved in putting out the fire, which took eight hours to extinguish.

“Honestly, I thought we wouldn't survive,” another woman told NHK.

In the end, only two passengers sustained injuries such as bruises and sprained limbs, JAL announced.

“It appears the passengers were following textbook instructions,” Terence Fan, an aviation industry expert at the Singapore Management University, told AFP.

~Runway confusion~
Investigators from Japan, France, Britain and Canada were investigating the crash on Thursday, with the charred remains of the two planes still littering one of Haneda's four runways.

Both the flight recorder and voice recorder of the Coast Guard plane were found, as was the flight recorder of the passenger plane, but no voice recorder was found.

The Ministry of Transportation released communications records from air traffic controllers showing that they approved the JAL plane's landing.

However, records show the Coast Guard plane was directed to a location near the runway.

Earlier, NHK reported that the pilot, Genki Miyamoto (39), said immediately after the accident that he had received permission to take off.

Japan Airlines said it expected losses from the destroyed aircraft to be 15 billion yen ($105 million), which it said should be covered by insurance, and was estimating the damage to company profits. .

Japan has not experienced a major civil aviation accident in recent decades.

In 1985, a JAL jumbo jet from Tokyo to Osaka crashed, killing 520 passengers and crew, making it one of the world's deadliest accidents involving a single flight.

The world's worst civil aviation disaster occurred in 1977 when two Boeing 747 planes collided at Los Rodeos Airport on the Spanish island of Tenerife, killing 583 people.

Source: guardian.ng

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