Investigators are focusing on air traffic control after the fatal Tokyo runway crash

Investigators are focusing on air traffic control after the fatal Tokyo runway crash

TOKYO AP Investigators were looking into the communications among air traffic control officials and two aircrafts in the Tokyo Haneda Airport on Wednesday, one day after a massive passenger plane and an Japanese coast guard plane hit the runway and exploded into flames and killed five people.

The accident happened on Tuesday evening after it was discovered that the Japan Airlines flight 516 plane made an emergency landing on one of the four runways in Haneda after a coast guard aircraft -one of them – a Bombardier Dash-8 — had entered the same area, and was in preparation to depart.

Japan Airlines flight bursts into flames after runway collision

A bright orange fireball shot out of both aircrafts when the JAL plane sped along the runway, which was engulfed in fire while spewing grey smoke. Within 20 minutes all 379 passengers as well as crew members were able to slide through emergency chutes and escaped. The Coast Guard pilot on the plane, which caught fire, was evacuated, suffering injuries, however five of the crew members were killed.

The Transport Ministry released a transcript of a air traffic control communications of approximately four minutes 27 second just after the incident. It did not provide explicit takeoff authorization for the coastguard plane. According to the report, Tokyo air control provided JAL Airbus A350 JAL Airbus A350 permission to be able to land on Runway C, noting that there was a plane departing as well as an official JAL pilot repeating his landing.

Coast Guard plane stated that it was taxiing on the same runway, and traffic control instructed it to move to the stop line in front of the runway. The controller pointed out that the coast guard has the first priority to depart and the pilot confirmed that he was heading towards an end line.

The communication ended there. A few minutes later after that, there was a three second silence, possibly to indicate the date for the crash.

Police launched a separate investigation into the possibility of professional negligence. Tokyo police reported that the investigators looked over the debris on the runway and conducted interviews.

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