Japan Airlines jumbo crash remembered 30 years later
UENO – Agence France-Presse
Children release lanterns in the river to offer prayers for the victims of Japan Airlines (JAL) jumbo jet crash at Ueno village in Gunma prefecture, north west of Tokyo on August 11, 2015 on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the accident. AFP PhotoHundreds of people attended ceremonies on Aug. 12 marking the 30th anniversary of a Japan Airlines jumbo jet crash that killed 520 people on board, the deadliest single-aircraft disaster in history.
The doomed Boeing 747 had begun the hour-long flight from Japan’s capital to Osaka when it crashed into a mountain about 120 kilometers northwest of Tokyo on August 12, 1985.
In all 509 passengers including a dozen infants and 15 crew were on board. Just four passengers survived.
Bereaved relatives of victims make an annual pilgrimage to Osutaka Ridge, along with JAL president Yoshiharu Ueki who walked the trail to a memorial near the crash site.
“I offer my regrets and prayers to the 520 people who died,” Ueki told reporters.
“I want to once again deeply apologise for the great pain, sorrow and the burden on bereaved families and others affected by this for such a long time. Nothing is more important than peoples’ lives.” As night fell, a crowd near the crash site joined hands and prayed in a moment of silence at the exact time of the crash - 6:56 pm - in front of a monument decorated with flowers and 520 candles for each victim.
Earlier, television footage showed some victims’ relatives starting their climb up the steep mountain trail before dawn.
Some blew soap bubbles to pay tribute to the children who died in the accident, their names included on a memorial listing the victims.