Pen To Paper: The Miracle of Haneda - A Story of Courage and Hope

Pen To Paper: The Miracle of Haneda - A Story of Courage and Hope

Witness the remarkable discipline and courage of passengers and crew as they evacuate the burning plane in a miraculous escape, reminding us of the preciousness of life and the power of gratitude.

Myeishaa ChhablaniUpdated: Tuesday, April 23, 2024, 07:31 PM IST
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Myeishaa Chhablani | Special Arrangement

It was of 2nd January in the year 2024, when a Japan Airlines flight had taken off  from New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido. This aircraft carried 367 passengers and  12 crew members. After about one hour and forty minutes of flight, the aircraft  was ready to land at the Runway C of the Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan. The  passengers were all ready to kiss the ground and feel the winds of change come  with new surprises. After all, it was the second day of the year and Japan needed a  bit of sunshine. Unfortunately, it experienced quite a quaky beginning with the 7.4  richter scale earthquake devouring the land of the Noto Peninsula like a ravenous  lion who did not eat for years. Little did the passengers know that in a few minutes  they would be on the verge of knocking the doors of heaven. Will they survive? Or  will God, once again, play the game of ‘roll the dice’? 

 As the aircraft began to pierce the layers of the troposphere, diving towards the  land, a Coast Guard Aircraft carrying six crew members prepared to take off from  the same runway. Their mission involved delivering safety supplies and first aid  equipment for earthquake and tsunami relief to a base in the Niigata Prefecture.  This was when the game began. In a split second, the Japan airlines flight collided  with the Coast Guard Aircraft bursting into flames. The passengers in the flight  heard a humongous “crash” while landing. There was a pungent smell of fuel all  over the aircraft. They could see sparks of fire outside their windows turning into  a gigantic explosion. Once the aircraft landed, the smoke began to paint the air  dark black. The flight attendants took up responsibility of their uniforms and began  to scream instructions at the top of their lungs in a bold, confident air. Fear reigned  supreme; however the ‘will to live’ defeated it in a battle to breathe. Instead of  choosing panic in a life threatening situation, the Japanese chose discipline.

Within  ninety seconds, as the government protocol, all the passengers including crew  evacuated the vehicle. They followed patiently in a straight line, one after the other  without their belongings, just the clothes on their back, and the hearts in their  chests. Three doors opened to evacuation slides as the fourth one was already burnt  to ashes. All 379 people were safely evacuated in what has gone down in history as  the ‘Miracle of Haneda.’ One middle aged passenger was interviewed on his experience. He said, “I was living earlier; however, I am fully and truly alive right  now.” 

 “God has a twisted sense of humor.” He said. Sometimes, we have to face death  eye to eye, to understand how to fully live. We are alive. Today. Why can’t we  have a sense of awe and reverence for what we have? Sometimes we have to look  up at the sky, put up a big, happy smile and tell Him, “Thank You for today!” 

(This review is part of the winning reviews published in the Pen to Paper contest hosted by The Free Press Journal annually . This exclusive contest is open to teenagers only)

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