“It was hell,” expressed 17-year-old Swede Anton Deibe, recounting his ordeal as one of the passengers on the Japanese Airlines flight that caught fire following a collision with a Coast Guard jet on Tuesday. Travelling with his parents and sister, Mr Deibe was part of the 379 individuals who miraculously emerged unharmed from the incident.
“The entire cabin filled with smoke within minutes. We dropped to the floor. Subsequently, the emergency doors were opened, and we hurriedly made our way towards them,” Mr Deibe shared with the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. Visuals from Tokyo’s Haneda airport captured the chaotic scene as the flight’s emergency doors swung open, and passengers rushed to evacuate the aircraft.
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Describing the harrowing experience, the 17-year-old mentioned that the smoke within the cabin “stung like hell”, and amidst the confusion, passengers were disoriented about the exit route. Consequently, they instinctively ran onto the field once the flight landed.
Videos recorded by passengers inside depicted the aircraft engulfed in flames, with smoke billowing in the cabin during the landing. Amidst the chaos, shouts echoed, and flames were visible through the windows.
“It was chaos,” said Swede Anton Deibe.
Another passenger described the moment the two aircraft collided, “I felt a boom like we had hit something and jerked upward the moment we landed.” The passenger told Kyodo news agency that there were sparks outside the window as the cabin got filled with gas and smoke.
Five people on the Japanese Coast Guard plane were killed, and its captain was hospitalized in critical condition, according to local news station NHK TV, which cited the Metropolitan Police Department.
The runway shocker comes a day after a series of earthquakes hit Japan, claiming nearly 50 lives.
The Jiji news agency has reported that the coast guard plane was to take off for a rescue operation in central Japan in the aftermath of the quakes.