Daily Press (Sunday)

Experts comb crash site for plane’s voice recorder


they gave the JAL plane permission to land.

Six experts from the Japan Transport Safety Board on Friday walked through the mangled debris of the Airbus A350-900 that was lying on the runway searching for the voice data recorder.

JTSB experts have secured both the flight and voice data recorders from the coast guard’s Bombardier Dash-8 and a flight data recorder from the JAL plane to find out what happened in the last few minutes before Tuesday’s fatal collision.

All 379 occupants of JAL Flight 516 safely evacuated within 18 minutes of landing as the aircraft was engulfed in flames.

Experts and media describe the 18-minute evacuation as “a miracle,” praising the JAL crew for their response.

The pilot of the coast guard plane also escaped, but its five other crew members died.

The coast guard aircraft was on a mission to deliver relief goods to survivors of earthquake­s in central Japan.

New details have also emerged from media footage at Haneda airport.

NHK television reported footage from its monitoring camera set up at the Haneda airport showed that the coast guard plane moved onto the runway and stopped there for about 40 seconds before the collision.

In the footage, the coast guard aircraft is seen entering the runway from the C5 taxiway, then shortly after the passenger plane touches down right behind and rams into it, creating a fireball.

The JAL airliner, covered with flames and spewing gray smoke, continues down the runway before coming to a stop.

Transcript­s of the recorded communicat­ion, released by the transport ministry Wednesday, at 5:43 p.m., show airport traffic control and the JAL Airbus A350 establish communicat­ions four minutes before landing.

Two minutes later, traffic control tells the JAL plane it’s allowed to land on the designated runway, 34R, with the pilot saying “cleared to land.”

Just 10 seconds later, the outgoing coast guard plane identifies itself, telling traffic control it’s on a taxiway to the runway. The traffic controller instructs it to “taxi to holding point C5” before the runway and says it gets No. 1 departure priority. The Bombardier repeats the instructio­n, then adds: “No. 1, thank you.”

The traffic controls make no further communicat­ion with either the JAL flight or the coast guard aircraft over the next two minutes until the crash, while communicat­ing with two other flights.

The pilot of the coast guard aircraft told police investigat­ors that his plane was struck just as he powered up the engines after obtaining clearance to take off.

The small lights on the coast guard aircraft and its 40-second stop might have made it less visible to the JAL pilots and air traffic control. NHK also said that air traffic control officials may have missed an alert system for unauthoriz­ed runway entry while engaging in other operations.

The JTSB investigat­ors Friday planned to interview seven JAL cabin attendants to get their accounts, after their similar interviews with the three pilots and two other attendants the day before.

A team from the aircraft manufactur­er, Airbus, was also joining the investigat­ion, a requiremen­t under internatio­nal aviation safety rules, according to the board.

Aviation safety authoritie­s from France, home to Airbus’ main management, and Canada, where the maker of Bombardier planes is based, were to cooperate in the investigat­ion. Experts from the U.S. National Transport Board were to provide help with A350’s Honeywell-made flight and voice data recorders.

 ?? KYODO NEWS ?? Heavy machinery works Friday to remove debris of the burned Airbus A350 for storage to allow the runway to reopen at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. The work continued Saturday.
KYODO NEWS Heavy machinery works Friday to remove debris of the burned Airbus A350 for storage to allow the runway to reopen at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. The work continued Saturday.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States