Negligence or technical failure? The investigation into the causes of the collision between the Japan Airlines (JAL) Airbus A350, with almost 400 people on board, and a Coast Guard plane, which killed five of its six crew members — the commander survived with serious injuries — is still is far from reaching a conclusion.

However, Japanese authorities released this Wednesday the Haneda Airport air traffic control tower transcriptswhere the collision occurred between the Airbus A350, which was carrying 379 people who were safely removed from the plane that had been burning for six hours, and the Coast Guard’s De Havilland Dash-8 aircraft, which was going to deliver aid to the massive earthquake that occurred on the day 1 in Japan and which killed more than 60 people.

Collision between two planes in Tokyo: 379 people from the Airbus got out safely, five died on the Coast Guard aircraft


According to Reuters, the transcripts appear to indicate that the commercial plane was allowed to land, while the Coast Guard was asked to go to a waiting point near the runway. An official from Japan’s civil aviation department said there was no indication in the transcripts that the plane had been cleared to take off, the news agency continues.

A different version is that put forward by a Coast Guard official when he stated that the pilot of the smaller plane stated that he entered the runway after receiving permission. However, the same source admits that there is no proof of this authorization in the published transcripts.

JAL says, in a statement, that, “according to interviews carried out with the operational crew, this acknowledged and repeated landing authorization air traffic control and then proceeded with approach and landing procedures.”

Transport Minister Tetsuo Saito guarantees that “the Ministry is presenting objective material and will fully cooperate with the investigation to ensure that they work together to take all possible security measures to prevent the case from recurring”.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Transportation Safety Board — which is leading the investigation — announced already found the black box of the Coast Guard plane from Japan, but not yet that of the Airbus A350.

The Tokyo police, according to Japanese media, are also investigating whether there was professional negligence, having even created a special unit to interview those involved.

“There is a strong possibility that there was a human error”, said aviation analyst Hiroyuki Kobayashi, a former JAL pilot. “Air accidents rarely occur due to a single problem, so I think this time there were also two or three problems that led to the accident.”

Explosion, burning smell and smoke. The “hell” of survivors of the collision between two planes in Tokyo

Authorities are also analyzing the charred wreckage of the planes and the runway where the collision occurred.


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