A JAPAN Airlines plane erupted in flames after apparently colliding with a coastguard aircraft at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on Tuesday.
It is now understood the other aircraft in the collision was a Japan Coast Guard plane reportedly set to leave to help with rescue efforts following a tremendous earthquake in central Japan on New Year’s Day.
Investigators said there were six people on board the De Havilland Dash-8 aircraft, five of whom were later reported dead.
The captain was said to be in critical condition, Yahoo Japan reports.
Some 17 people were also reported injured.
Firefighters and police are now understood to be investigating the debris of the coastguard aircraft.
Pictures show dozens of crew members near the wreckage site.
Local TV showed a large eruption of fire and smoke from the side of the Japan Airlines (JAL) plane as it taxied on a runway.
The area around the wing then caught fire.
Television pictures caught the shocking moment as passengers and airport workers watched on in horror.
Images from broadcaster NHK showed flames apparently coming out of the plane’s windows and from beneath the aircraft.
Video later showed fire crews working to put out the blaze with streams of water and aiding the evacuation operation.
The flames had spread to much of the plane.
Videos also circulated on social media of the shocking incident, with passengers seen fleeing from the scene.
One passenger managed to capture the despair taking place inside the plane, as smoke took over the entire cabin.
People were seen covering their faces with their hands or masks, as others were heard yelling in the background.
“All of a sudden it was full of smoke and everyone is shouting in Japanese,” said Swede Anton Deibe, 17, who was on the plane.
Anton was travelling alongside his sister Ella, mother Kristin and father Jonas, Swedish outlet Aftonbladet reports.
“When it landed, I looked out the window,” he said.
“It got really hot and I saw through the window how it dissolved.
” Then fire trucks came and started spraying on the window.”
He continued: “The smoke in the cabin stung like hell.
“We had no idea where we were going so we just ran out into the field. It was chaos.”
Dad Jonas added: “It was a few minutes when the entire cabin was filled with smoke.
“We threw ourselves down on the floor. Then the emergency doors were opened and then we threw ourselves at them.”
The family said they are still in complete shock as they don’t think they “understood what happened”.
“We have just witnessed a miracle,” former commercial pilot Roger Whitefield told Sky News.
“The way they got all those passengers off that aeroplane is almost beyond belief,” he said.
He explained that images showed smoke pouring out of one of the rear doors, meaning the visibility on the plane “must have been nil”.
“For the crew to get all the passengers out, it’s a miracle. There’s no two ways about it,” Whitefield added.
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said: “We will work closely with related ministries and agencies to quickly assess the damage situation, and strive to provide appropriate information to the public.”
Haneda is one of the busiest airports in Japan, and many people travel over the New Year holidays.