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The crew consisted of 35-year-old Captain Seiji Katagiri (片桐 清二 Katagiri Seiji), 33-year-old First Officer Yoshifumi Ishikawa, and 48-year-old flight engineer Yoshimi Ozaki. The cause of the crash was traced to Katagiri's deliberate crashing the plane. One report was that he engaged the inboard engines' thrust-reversers in flight. Another report was that, during descent, Katagiri "cancelled autopilot, pushed his controls forward and retarded the throttles to idle." The first officer and flight engineer worked to restrain him and regain control. Despite their best efforts, the DC-8's descent could not be completely checked, and it touched down in shallow water 300 meters (980 ft) short of the runway.
Among the 166 passengers and eight crew, 24 died. Following the accident, Katagiri, one of the first people to take a rescue boat, reportedly told rescuers that he was an office worker, to avoid being identified as the captain. Katagiri was later found to be suffering from a mental illness prior to the incident, which resulted in a decision that he was not guilty by reason of insanity.
^Shreeya Sinha (March 26, 2015). "A History of Crashes Caused by Pilots’ Intentional Acts". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-04-18. Seiji Katagiri, 35, the pilot of a Japan Air Lines DC-8 sent the plane into Tokyo Bay moments before it was to land on Feb. 9, 1982, killing 24 of the 166 passengers on board. Mr. Katagiri, who survived the crash, was prosecuted, but he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He had a history of 'psychosomatic disorders' in late 1980, but airline doctors said he was fit for duty.