Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has praised the quick actions of the crew onboard the JAL A350-900 that caught fire this morning.
“My thanks to the Japan Airlines crew and all of the staff at the site,” he told reporters at a press conference. “We can confirm all 379 passengers plus crew are safe and evacuated from the aircraft. I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude for their efforts”.
The Prime Minister confirmed that the collision took place this morning between the Airbus and a Dash-8 operated by the Japanese Coast Guard at Tokyo Haneda airport. The 16 year-old Dash-8 was set to deliver supplies to the country’s northern region which has suffered severe damage following an earthquake on New Year’s Day.
He also confirmed reports that five out of six Coast Guard crew on board the Dash-8 were killed in the accident. “They were on their way with a high sense of duty to deliver goods to the disaster-stricken area and it is a very disappointing and saddening situation” he said, adding he wished to express respect to their sense of duty, as well as offering heartfelt condolences for their losses.
Separately, Transport Minister Tetsuo Saito confirmed that a thorough investigation of the root cause of the crash will be taking place.
“The root cause of the accident is not known yet, but we will be working with the Japan Safety Board and relevant agencies associated with the police department and will be looking at the information gathered in detail and making the utmost effort to work out the root cause of this accident”.