How everyone aboard an airliner survived that fiery crash in Tokyo


Footage from inside the cabin provides a clue

By now, most people have seen the horrifying footage of a Japan Airlines jet completely engulfed in flames after colliding with another plane at Haneda Airport in Tokyo.

But amazingly, all 367 passengers and 12 crew members were evacuated safely in a series of events being compared to the “miracle on the Hudson.” In 2009, US Airways Flight 1549, piloted by Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles, ditched in the Hudson River with no fatalities after striking a flock of geese on take-off from New York’s LaGuardia airport.

Five of the six people aboard the Japan Coast Guard plane that struck the Japan Airways airliner died as their plane exploded.

In the case of the Japan Airways fire, the airline said the flight crew used megaphones and their voices to instruct passengers because the aircraft’s public address system was disabled.

How were they able to get everyone to safety with no loss of life? It turns out the crash looked a lot worse outside – with flames completely engulfing the aircraft – than it did in the cabin. Cell phone footage shot by a passenger and aired by Australia’s Sky News reveals what happened.

This is what it looked like from outside the plane:

The training and skill of the flight crew no doubt played a role in this “miracle.” An airline spokesperson said the passengers – including eight infants – were evacuated through three emergency chutes. 

The airline said there were no serious injuries but 14 passengers requested medical attention.

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