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Plane catches fire at Tokyo’s Haneda airport

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A Japan Airlines plane caught fire on the runway at Haneda airport in Tokyo, Japan’s capital, on Tuesday after colliding with a coast guard aircraft, officials said.

A spokesperson for the carrier said the Airbus A-350 passenger plane was flight 516, traveling from Shin Chitose airport in Hokkaido to Haneda.

Haneda is one of Japan’s busiest airports and the second-largest hub serving Tokyo, after Narita airport.

Japan Airlines said all 379 people on board the burning aircraft were safely evacuated.

Video footage broadcast live on public broadcaster NHK showed fire crews working to put out the blaze. The Transport Ministry said all runways at the airport were closed.

What do we know about the cause of the fire?

The Japanese Coast Guard said it was investigating the cause of the incident, suggesting that one of its own aircraft collided with the passenger jet.

Meanwhile, NHK reported that five people who were on board the Japan Coast Guard plane were found dead. The pilot, one of six on board, escaped with serious injuries.

The Coast Guard later said its plane had been headed to Niigata airport on Japan’s west coast to deliver aid to those caught up in the powerful New Year’s Day earthquake, which killed nearly 50 people.

rmt/nm (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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