On Tuesday morning, Japan Airlines flight 6 from Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport to New York hit a bird shortly after takeoff, prompting an immediate return to the airport after the affected engine failed.
On what was a clear morning in Tokyo, JAL6 to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport took off very normally, but the jet with 248 passengers hit a flock of birds shortly after takeoff, resulting in an engine failure and emergency return to the airport.
Video footage from a local nearby revealed that the left engine was aflame, and seconds later the flight crew contacted air traffic control for a quick return to Haneda. Due to the aircraft having over 100,000 pounds of fuel onboard, the flight crew had to dump fuel over the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Japan for over 45 minutes to get the aircraft below the maximum landing weight.
After a standard engine shutdown by the pilots in control, the plane expedited its’ return to Tokyo and landed safely with no injuries at 12:09 p.m. local.
Upon landing, the Japan Transport Ministry’s office at the airport confirmed via a monitor that flames were coming from the plane’s left engine and noticed smoke rising from grass near the northern edge of the runway. The runway was closed and shattered aircraft parts were later found there.
It was found hours later that there was minor damage to the turbine blades inside the engine.
Some passengers treated the situation differently than others, while passenger Makiko Kobayashi noted in an interview with The Japan Times, “There was an announcement shortly after takeoff that the plane was going to return because of engine trouble. The crew appeared tense, while the passengers were calm, but I didn’t think the engine was on fire.”
A resident of Chiba Prefecture also said to the local news that she heard a series of “loud bangs” and that “the plane sharply turned course at a low altitude, so I was worried that it might crash.”
Investigators are still investigating the incident.
Featured photo from The Sun.