Miracle evacuations like those in Japan are extremely rare


Miraculous air disaster survivals – such as the accident in Japan on Tuesday where 379 people survived when a plane went up in flames – are extremely rare.

In this case, a Japan Airlines plane caught fire on the runway of Haneda Airport in Tokyo after it presumably collided with a coast guard plane. The plane had just arrived from Sapporo Airport, on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, when the collision happened.

All but one of the six people on the Coast Guard plane were killed in the crash. The 379 passengers, including eight children, and staff on the Airbus plane escaped minutes before the entire plane was engulfed in flames.

However, evacuations like those where most of the people on board the plane survive are a miracle – even though crew members are trained to deal with these types of scenarios.

There have only been a few similar evacuations recorded over the years.

Airplane in Canadian Gorge, 2005:

On August 2, 2005, an Air France Airbus A340 plane from Paris missed the runway and landed in a ravine outside Toronto’s (in Canada) Lester B Pearson International Airport.

All 297 passengers and 12 crew members were able to escape before most of the plane’s fuselage was engulfed in flames.

The evacuation took place within two minutes, with around 40 people suffering only minor injuries.

Officials praised the crew at the time for the quick evacuation, singling out the co-pilot who was the last to get off the craft.

‘Miracle on the Hudson River’, 2009:

In January 2009, pilot Chesley Sullenberger was hailed as a hero after he saved the lives of all 155 passengers on board a US Airways flight (flight 1549) when he made a “miraculous soft landing” in the Hudson River in New York has.

The Airbus had just taken off at New York’s LaGuardia Airport when both engines gave out – apparently due to a collision with birds.

The landing – carried out with exceptional skill – enabled passengers to climb out of the plane onto the wings where boats quickly came to their rescue before the plane disappeared under the water.

The incident has since been known as the “Miracle on the Hudson” and is even in a movie, Sullyconverted, starring Tom Hanks as the pilot.

Flight Attendant Commended for Rescue, 2019:

On 27 June 2019, a small Antonov An-24 plane missed the runway in Nizhneangarsk in Eastern Siberia by about 100 meters, crashed into a building and caught fire.

The only female member of the crew, Elena Laputskaya, managed to get 43 passengers safely off the plane on her own. Pres. Vladimir Putin later honored her for her bravery.

In addition to the passengers, Laputskaya and the co-pilot survived the crash. However, the pilot and another crew member are dead.

The plane belonged to the regional airline Angara and traveled from Ulan-Ude near the border between that area and Mongolia.