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Japan News Network (JNN), a network of local broadcasters, put out dramatic footage on Wednesday (January 16) of passengers being evacuated from the ANA 787 Dreamliner which was forced to make an emergency landing at an airport in western Japan, following a malfunction in the plane’s batteries.
Japan’s two leading airlines grounded their fleets of Boeing 787s on Wednesday following the incident which triggered renewed, global safety concerns over a plane many see as the future of commercial aviation.
ANA flight 692 left Yamaguchi Airport in western Japan shortly after 8 a.m. local time (2300 GMT Tuesday) bound for Haneda Airport near Tokyo, a 65-minute flight. About 18 minutes into the flight, at 30,000 feet, the plane began a descent. It descended to 20,000 feet in about four minutes and made an emergency landing 16 minutes later, according to flight-tracking website Flightaware.com.
A spokesman for Osaka airport authority said the plane landed in Takamatsu at 8:45 a.m. All 129 passengers and eight crew were evacuated safely via the plane’s inflatable chutes. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said 5 people were slightly injured when they jumped out using the emergency chutes.
All Nippon Airways Co said it was grounding all 17 of its 787s and Japan Airlines Co said it suspended all 787 flights scheduled for Wednesday. ANA said its planes could be back in the air as soon as Thursday (January 17) once checks were completed. The two carriers operate around half of the 50 Dreamliners delivered by Boeing to date.
Wednesday’s incident follows a series of mishaps for the new Dreamliner. The sophisticated plane, the world’s first mainly carbon-composite airliner, has suffered fuel leaks, a battery fire, wiring problem, brake computer glitch and cracked cockpit window in recent days.