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Japan Airlines pilots 'unaware of fire' at first

46 Comments
By Hiroshi HIYAMA

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© 2024 AFP

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46 Comments
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Scary incident...

6 ( +7 / -1 )

It took 18 minutes to evacuate the entire plane, 

18 minutes is too slow. They need to run drills for this, it should be possible to get people off faster, and it sounds like a lot of time was lost by simply not opening the doors in the first place.

If the plane is on fire, it should not be necessary for passengers to beg for the doors to be opened. That's horrific. Sat on a burning plane while staff wonder if they're allowed to open the door.

-20 ( +9 / -29 )

18 minutes is too slow. They need to run drills for this, it should be possible to get people off faster, and it sounds like a lot of time was lost by simply not opening the doors in the first place.

yes, but we learn from each accident, and this was a situation that nobody expected. I think that they did a remarkable job, considering.

7 ( +16 / -9 )

Oh far what a beastly start to the year and I just saw that some loony has stabbed a load of people on a train at Akihabara.

Some nice news please SMH

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

First

The chief flight attendant ... reported to the cockpit that the plane was burning as the cabin crew needed permission to open the emergency exits, NHK reported.

and then

The crew in the back deemed it was urgent for the passengers to disembark from the back door and opened it anyway, as they are trained to do. They used megaphones and their own voices to give instructions to the passengers.

Thank goodness the FA showed some initiative!

13 ( +16 / -3 )

@mat

18 minutes is too slow. They need to run drills for this, it should be possible to get people off faster, and it sounds like a lot of time was lost by simply not opening the doors in the first place.

Remember these are just normal passenger plane which will have many people with various physical characteristic and easily susceptible stress when in plane condition.

Those JAL-516 might have elderly, families with kids/babies, passenger with disabilities in passenger lists. You can also hear from footage there are baby, kids voices crying.

What matters are those passenger were survived and no rush panic happened.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

At least one pet dog and one cat had to be left on the plane and died, the airline said.

So there were casualties from JAL-516, may those pets rest in peace.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

If the plane is on fire, it should not be necessary for passengers to beg for the doors to be opened. That's horrific. 

How are they going to get around that though? There are damned good reasons for having a strict system in place to limit the ability to open those doors and having a system that allowed them to be opened without the crew would be inviting disaster.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

According to: https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/news/the-art-of-the-plane-evacuation-how-airlines-empty-giant-jets-in-under-90-seconds/ar-AA1mpoFK

All passengers ... need to be able to get off in an emergency in just 90 seconds – ... all the time the 379 passengers and crew on board Flight 516 had before the jet was engulfed by flames

and the detailed infographics here:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/graphics/2024/01/02/japan-coast-guard-plane-crash-graphics/72083108007/

Flight JAL-516 ..... was making a normal landing on Runway C at about 5:47 p.m. local time when the crash occurred.

so when this report says:

It took 18 minutes to evacuate the entire plane, with the pilot the last ... at 6:05 pm

it means 18 minutes was the total time from the airborne collision to completion of the evacuation, including actually landing and stopping the plane, and then shutting off the fuel tanks.

Sadly the JCG plane's crew died. They must have just become airborne as JAL-516 descended on top of them, so the Bombardier's above-fuselage wing and engines hit JAL-516's wing and engines at the two planes' combined speed. The JCG plane would have been fully loaded with fuel.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

@A_cross

This is a Japan today article that people are referring to when writing comments. Don’t reference international news sites such as msn/en/us/travel or USA Today sites as they do not have exact information as this disaster is merely a day old ! what you referenced is totally wrong as per all the local media reports! Japanese news sites such as Japan today and others have more factual information so instead of condemning other commenters you should provide a local media point of reference if you feel others are wrong!

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

This was a remarkable job done by JAL in an accident that could have had a far, far greater loss of life.

This article says it better than I ever could.

https://edition.cnn.com/2024/01/02/travel/tokyo-plane-crash-safety-rules-analysis-intl/index.html

The experts mentioned that much of the success here may have had a cultural connection. No one pushed others out of the way. There was no mad rush to grab baggage from overhead compartments. The crew was spectacular as were the orderly passengers.

Bravo, JAL.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Yes, 18 minutes is way too slow! Those praising the situation would have been criticizing it if they were the actual passengers on board for that duration!

Its just a miracle that no humans died onboard because the way it unfolded with the pilots unaware of the flames , the correspondence with the cockpit breaking down suddenly and the doors not being opened more quickly, there could have been so many deaths. The safe outcome that eventually happened was not in reality 100% due to the efficiency of the staff but just pure luck / a miracle! Only the passengers and flight attendants know what they went through and whether they could have been evacuated much faster!

-12 ( +5 / -17 )

18 minutes is the time from accident to captain leaving the plane. The rest of the crew and passengers were long gone by then.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

For all of you experts on this board it would be nice to credit everyone for coming out safe and alive including JAL staff .

Without knowing all the details and fact should not even be commenting.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

glad all passengers survived, jal did a great job so did the passengers. i do believe japanese being somehow special.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Here is a Japanese article from Nikkei that properly explains that the "90 Second Rule" applies to the time from deployment of the emergency exits to the evacuation of the passengers and obviously not the time from an accident to complete disembarkment. This was accomplished.

https://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXZQOUE030KJ0T00C24A1000000/

As for the time from the accident to the opening and deployment of the emergency exits, the crew did a remarkable job considering they were dealing with a non-functional announcement system and had to determine which exits were safe to open due to the fire. As the article mentions, five of eight emergency exits were determined to be unsafe due to the fire.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

to those complaining about the delay, pilots have to assess the situation, see where the fires are and only open chute that are safe to do so, which is why none of the wing chutes were deployed directly above where the fire were burnings.

front and rear chutes were deployed everybody was out in 96 seconds. almost perfect by the book, nobody died. excellent result

13 ( +15 / -2 )

glad all passengers survived

Not all...

At least one pet dog and one cat had to be left on the plane and died, the airline said

Very sad. Seems the pets were treated as cargo!

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

You can't just throw open the doors and evacuate into fire.

The reason they ask you to keep your window shades open on take off and landing is so that in the event of a fire, people can see out, and rescuers can see in.

The pilot needs to stop the plane, stop the engines and assess the situation before giving the all-clear to start the evacuation. There are times when it's safer to stay on the plane than flee, so the situation needs to be assessed first.

Due to the fire only a few exits could be used. That's a lot of people to evacuate through a couple of exits in such a situation. Then the pilot and crew will search the plane for any remaining passengers.

18mins is from touch-down until the last person (the pilot) was off, after performing checks for any remaining passengers. Given it would have been a couple of mins until the doors were opened, and a couple of mins just the crew on the plane, I'd say it wasn't too bad.

Lessons were learned, it'll be studied and anything that can be done better will be next time. That's how aviation gets safer and safer. But no human lives on the JAL plane were lost. So great job JAL crew and first responders!

12 ( +14 / -2 )

rainman1

You're right, and the 90 second evacuation time is likely using all exits and slides, in daylight, which in this case wasn't possible, and wasn't the case.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

But according to national broadcaster NHK, the Japan Airlines pilots in the cockpit did not know about the fire until being informed by the cabin crew.

I haven't seen anyone bring up or discuss this in the comments yet. Is it normal that the pilots had to wait to be informed by the cabin crew? That sounds rather fishy. One would think that in case of an emergency situation like an engine fire, the cockpit would immediately be made aware through a warning in their system, no?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

At least one pet dog and one cat had to be left on the plane and died, the airline said.

As happy as they are that they and all of their fellow passengers survived, the owners of those two pets must be grief-stricken by their deaths. I know that I would be.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

At least one pet dog and one cat had to be left on the plane and died, the airline said.

Were the cages in the cabin. Recent news article showed pets being allowed in cabin on domestic flights.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

18 minutes is too slow. They need to run drills for this, it should be possible to get people off faster, and it sounds like a lot of time was lost by simply not opening the doors in the first place.

Right.... run drills with paying customers on a burning airplane! DOH!

The cabin crew go through regular training and I personally want to see you get all those people off the plane with using only 3 of what 8 possible exits.

You literally have zero idea what you are talking about! Getting all those people off the plane UNINJURED in 18 minutes, is a damn miracle!

How fast should they be able to get 379 people off of an aircraft only using doors on one side, and using the slides? Come on now? How fast?

JAL's staff should be commended for their cool thinking and ability to put their own lives in danger and caring about the safety of their passengers first. I'd bet CA's on some other airlines would be jumping first to save themselves!

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Soooooo many hidden aviation safety specialists coming out of the closet here, on JT's forum!

The "too slow" folks would have be the first to complain if any passenger would have been ingested by a still running engine, or would have descended the slides in a burning puddle of fuel, for example. Instead you should be congratulating the crew for not panicking, like you would have probably done, and not losing anyone!

One should never move faster than needed in aviation and this has exactly what happened here: the captain assessed the situation, went through the shutdown checklists, got informed about the fire spreading and not being able to be contained, then decided it's indeed time to evacuate. They had minor injuries only, no burns, etc. so that was obviously the best decision in the given situation.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Mat

Dont add fuel to the hysteria. An armchair 1/4 back is but that. 18 minutes is the entire time from COLLISION to the Pilot double checking that EVERYONE had safely evacuated the smoke-filled cabin.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I salute the the crew as they did their job they are trained to do. Captain I salute your bravery by being the last of your plane. I’ll fly JAL any day.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The fact that FA can take the initiative without captain OK is already amazing training, as it goes against the Asian cultural norms.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Lorem ipsumToday  04:49 pm JST

But according to national broadcaster NHK, the Japan Airlines pilots in the cockpit did not know about the fire until being informed by the cabin crew.

I haven't seen anyone bring up or discuss this in the comments yet. Is it normal that the pilots had to wait to be informed by the cabin crew? That sounds rather fishy. One would think that in case of an emergency situation like an engine fire, the cockpit would immediately be made aware through a warning in their system, no?

There are 3 fire/smoke detectors on an aircraft: the engines (which were not on fire although there was fire around them), the cargo hold and the lavatories. If none of these smoke alarms is going off, the pilots wouldn’t know.

In addition, the windows are forward facing with pretty limited lateral visibility. When the planes block in, there is a ground staff on each wing checking the separation from other obstacles because it is quite difficult for the pilots to check themselves.

So for “some” indeterminate period of time, it’s perfectly plausible that they would not know the aircraft was on fire.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Seems to me the JAL crew did exactly as they were trained to do, resulting in ZERO loss of lives in very extreme circumstances.

the captain has to assess and give the order for a controlled evacuation. in this case 3 doors on an 8 door plane.

Opening the other 5 doors would have seen significant casualties.

well done to the entire crew.

and to those who have commented that that the pilot should have seen something, even if he had (which is pretty much impossible). At that stage of his approach there was absolutely nothing he could have done.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I'm just glad everybody survived, Imagine the highly flamable octane gas the plane was carrying on its fuel tank. It could have exploded if reached by fire. 18 minutes is really a long time. If there is a fire why do the flight attendant need a permission to open the door? I'm just glad everybody survived.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I'm not surprised that the pilots did not know about the fire. It appears that much of the control and information systems and wiring were destroyed in the initial collision. The fact that it took 18 minutes to evacuate is pretty concerning. The escape slides probably weren't working efficiently because the slope was slight due to the collapsed landing gear. I hope this incident comes to be known as a "New Year's Miracle." May the five dead Coast Guard Crew members rest in peace knowing they were helping their country.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

There are 3 fire/smoke detectors on an aircraft: the engines (which were not on fire although there was fire around them), the cargo hold and the lavatories. If none of these smoke alarms is going off, the pilots wouldn’t know.

In addition, the windows are forward facing with pretty limited lateral visibility. When the planes block in, there is a ground staff on each wing checking the separation from other obstacles because it is quite difficult for the pilots to check themselves.

So for “some” indeterminate period of time, it’s perfectly plausible that they would not know the aircraft was on fire.

Thanks for clarifying this.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Even if everyone survives and safely evacuated the plane, it does mean the pilot and crew won't be picked a part for every little detail. The pilots still have to face scrutiny: case in point, Tom Hanks as Sully Sullivan in Sully or the Miracle on Hudson River.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Just as I posted on the original article " Jan. 2 "****Look like the control tower lost its SA situational awareness and allowed this accident to happen".

The transport ministry on Wednesday released transcripts of the flight controllers' communications, which showed they approved the JAL flight's landing, media reports said.

But the coast guard plane was reportedly instructed to go to a spot near the runway.

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

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Transcripts show that the Air Traffic Control cleared the Japan Coastguard plane up to a holding position on a taxiway branching off the runway. It was never cleared to enter the runway by ATC (unless there is another radio channel being used by the coastguard that we have not heard yet, but unusual if there is). The ATC cleared the JAL flight to land and the JAL flight did everything right.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So the pilot of the Coastguard plane thought he received permission to take of when he didn't or the ATC thought he told the Coastguard plane to clear up to a holding position when he didn't. What does the transcript say?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Why is a Coast Guard plane using the busiest domestic airline airport in Japan? Seriously isn't there military airports in the area? This just doesn't make sense.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@quercetum

The transcript shows that JAL was given clearance to land on the runway, and then Coastguard was given clearance up to a taxiway hold position (i.e. queuing) which is just before the runway. So the coastguard was never given permission to enter the runway by the tower ATC at least.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And the Coastguard also acknowledged the clearance to taxiway by repeating the instruction back to ATC

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm just glad everybody survived, Imagine the highly flamable octane gas the plane was carrying on its fuel tank. 

Jets run on jet fuel, not high octane avgas and from the looks of the fire the fuel was burning.

What is amazing to me is that the carbon fiber fuselage lasted as long as it did in that fire. I think had the jet been made of traditional aluminum it would have melted and a lot of people would have died. 18 minutes when something is on fire is an absolute eternity.

Sadly a dog and a cat were left behind on the plane. Being an animal lover I cannot imagine the horror of their deaths. I know the rules about bringing nothing with you when you exit in an emergency but no flight crew member could pry my pet out of my arms.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why is a Coast Guard plane using the busiest domestic airline airport in Japan? Seriously isn't there military airports in the area? This just doesn't make sense.

Japanese airports are "dual" use facilities. There literally isnt enough land space available in Japan to build all the runways necessary.

However, it really shouldnt matter, as whether or not it's a military plane or a passenger plane, the size and ownership should not matter when it comes to procedures.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Why is a Coast Guard plane using the busiest domestic airline airport in Japan? Seriously isn't there military airports in the area? This just doesn't make sense.

There is apparently a JCG air station at Haneda. In the US you will find US Coast Guard air stations at San Diego's Lindbergh Field, LAX (closed because the Coast Guard lost its lease on the hanger it rented), San Francisco International Airport, Ronald Reagan International Airport, . Several more CG air stations are at smaller regional airports. Comparatively few are co-located with military airfields and I think the USCG has only one stand alone air base not shared with a larger user.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

On the news here in Japan this morning is uncut passenger footage showing 8 minutes from impact to exit of the aircraft. As mentioned above, 18 minutes, if accurate, referred to the last person off, the captain, who only exited after carefully checking the cabin for any remaining passengers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

JimJan. 4  02:23 pm JST

@A_cross

This is a Japan today article that people are referring to when writing comments. Don’t reference international news sites ......

Jim, are you a moderator?

The first people posting seemed to misunderstand the reports in thinking that 18 minutes was the time it took for everyone to leave once the aircraft was on the ground. In fact, as I pointed out, that was the time that elapsed between the mid-air collision and the pilot, being the last to leave, walked away. That means during those 18 minutes the plane caught fire, landed, came to a stop, doors were opened, passengers evacuated, pilot and crew worked to make the plane as safe as it could be. The slide evacuation did indeed take the designed 90 seconds.

In order to understand this, I had to research other reporting, and just as others have done, noted the URL of information sources. The USA Today article included diagrams which greatly helped understand the situation. Are you saying that no-one should post any references that are not Japan Today?

I don't get your point. Sounds like you are saying any non-Japanese media is untrustworthy.
0 ( +0 / -0 )

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