‘It was a miracle’: How passengers escaped a JAL fireball in Tokyo


The cabin of the passenger jet began quickly filling with smoke while some anxious passengers ran up and down the aisles and others clung to shrieking children.

“Please get me out of here,” one woman shouted in a video shared with Reuters from inside the plane. “Why don’t you just open (the doors),” a child screamed.

“I really thought I was going to die,” said Tokyo resident Tsubasa Sawada, 28, who was returning from a holiday in Sapporo with his girlfriend.

“After the accident happened, I was laughing a bit at first when I could see some sparks coming out (of the engine) but when the fire started, I realised it was more than just something.”

Flight attendants seemed to be urging people to remain calm, saying “please cooperate”, according to the video shared with Reuters.

Outside, 115 fire-fighting units were deployed to the scene to tackle a blaze that started at the back of the plane and eventually engulfed the whole aircraft in a ball of flames.

Yamake, who was seated near the front, said despite some passengers being very anxious, the crew quickly deployed the evacuation chutes and people began disembarking in an orderly fashion.

The airline said the evacuation began almost immediately after the plane came to a standstill and that all passengers were taken to safety within less than 20 minutes.

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