Japan Airlines plane's emergency landing at Tokyo airport likely due to bird strike
A Japan Airlines (JAL) plane bound for New York made an emergency landing at Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Tuesday due to engine trouble likely caused by a bird strike, the transport ministry and the airline operator said.
After departing from Haneda Airport just before 11 a.m. local time, the crew aboard the Boeing 777 alerted the airport controller at Haneda about the engine trouble.
The plane informed Haneda it was returning to the airport to make an emergency landing on a single engine after an on-board alarm indicated trouble with the left engine.
The plane, carrying 250 passengers according to Japan's public broadcaster NHK, landed safely at Haneda Airport and there have been no reports of injury to passengers or crew members, the airline said.
Flames were seen coming from the left engine of the plane when it took off and there were reports the engine was on fire, according to the transport ministry.
Both the airline and the transport ministry said that bird strike was the likely cause of the engine trouble.
Smoke was also seen on grassland adjacent to Haneda Airport's C runway from where the aircraft took off. Due to this, the C runway was closed down, the airport operator said.
Boeing 777 planes are a series of long-range, wide-body planes and are currently the world's largest commercial twin-jet aircraft.
The planes boast the largest-diameter turbofan engines of any commercial aircraft in operation and these two sizable engines are its most distinguishing feature.
According to JAL, the 777, known as the "triple seven" in aviation circles, is capable of flying on a single engine, but safety protocols dictate that in the event of a bird strike or multiple bird strikes on take off, the affected engine should be shut down and the plane return to the nearest airport.
Bird strikes to jet engines can cause the blades of the engines to sheer off and theoretically result in severe damage being caused to the jet engine itself and other parts of the plane.
Kyodo News reported that in 2016, 1,626 bird strikes were confirmed at airports across Japan, with Haneda Airport reporting the most strikes at 182.