Recording Shows Japan Coast Guard Aircraft Not Given OK to Enter Runway Prior to Collision at Haneda Airport (Update 2)

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Firefighters investigate the Japan Coast Guard aircraft on Wednesday at Haneda Airport.

A Japan Coast Guard aircraft was not given permission by a Haneda Airport air traffic controller to enter Runway C, where a collision with a Japan Airlines plane occurred Tuesday, according to a recording of communications released by the Land, Infrastructure and Tourism Ministry on Wednesday.

According to the recording of the communications of the four minutes immediately prior to the collision, the JCG aircraft was given instructions to move to the taxiway just before Runway C, and the JCG aircraft confirmed the instructions. However, there were no subsequent instructions to enter the runway or take off.

The JAL plane had been given permission to land there by the runway’s air traffic controller immediately prior to the collision, according to interviews with ministry sources.

The JCG aircraft was instructed by the air traffic controller to proceed to the taxiway connected to Runway C, prompting the ministry to investigate why the JCG aircraft entered the runway.

The ministry is investigating why the JCG aircraft entered the runway.

Out of the six-person crew on the JCG MA722 aircraft, only the captain survived the collision with JAL Flight 516 from New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido at around 5:47 p.m. on Tuesday. Both aircraft caught fire and were destroyed. The JAL plane came to a stop about 1,000 meters away, and all 379 people aboard the passenger plane escaped, with 17 suffering burns to their throats and other injuries.

On Wednesday morning, six aviation accident investigators from the government’s Japan Transport Safety Board entered Runway C to investigate the cause of the accident.

The Metropolitan Police Department established a special task force Wednesday within the Tokyo Airport Police Station on suspicion of professional negligence manslaughter and began an on-site inspection of the condition of the aircraft and the runway.

The 39-year-old captain reportedly informed the JCG airbase at Haneda that “the aircraft exploded on the runway,” and it is highly likely that he did not have visual contact with the JAL plane until the accident occurred.

The Yomiuri Shimbun