Korea Air Jet Evacuated After Engine Fire at Tokyo’s Haneda

korean air fire

Ground crew put out a fire on a Korean Air plane in Tokyo's Haneda Airport.

Photographer: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images
  • Passengers and crew all disembarked, 18 people injured
  • Other Haneda runways reopened after temporarily closing

A Korean Air Lines Co. plane was evacuated at Tokyo’s Haneda airport after an engine caught fire.

All 302 passengers and 17 crew members disembarked and there were 18 people with injuries, Kyosuke Okada, a spokesman for Japan’s transport ministry, said by telephone Friday. The extent of the injuries isn’t known yet, he said.
 
The runway with the Boeing Co. 777 plane, which was about to depart to Seoul from Haneda when the fire was noticed, is still closed while three other runways have reopened. ANA Holdings Inc. and Japan Airlines Co., the nation’s largest carriers, canceled a combined 277 flights, affecting a total of about 55,690 passengers, according to separate statements from the companies. Haneda is Asia’s second-busiest airport with 75 million passengers last year.

“We got up to about 70 or 80 percent of the speed required to take off and then they slammed on the brakes,” Jack Harrison, a 37-year-old student at the International Christian University west of Tokyo, who was on the plane. “For the next 20 seconds there was a little sliding left and right. There was a little bit of screaming and shouting, but nothing excessive.”

The fire has been put out, Okada said, and the remaining passengers have returned to the terminal building. Korean Air said it is investigating the cause of the fire, according to an e-mailed statement from the Seoul-based company.

Korean Air’s most recent accident was in 2000 when a flap from a Boeing 747 freighter aircraft broke off and punctured the fuselage leaving a one-meter hole, according to the Aviation Safety Network website. There were no fatalities from that incident, Aviation Safety said.

“The only moment my heart rate went up was when the flight attendants started shouting for us to go down the shoots,” said Harrison, who was waiting to board a special flight put on by Korean Air to take the passengers to Seoul. “Apart from that it was relatively calm.”

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