Heroic Chinese pilot who saved 439 lives in near-miss drama by steering his plane out of danger is awarded £360k… as video shows just how close the incident was

  • China Eastern Airlines rewarded a heroic captain with £360,000 today
  • He saved hundreds of lives from a head-on collision in Shanghai last month
  • His plane was about to take off when another plane entered the runway
  • The pilot, He Chao, decided to accelerate and flew over the other aircraft 

A Chinese airline rewarded one of its pilots with three million yuan (£360,000) today for preventing a collision between two planes that could have killed 439 people.

The pilot’s Airbus A320 was about to take off from an airport in Shanghai last month when it encountered an Airbus A330 in its path along the runway, reports the People’s Daily Online.

The pilot, named He Chao, chose to accelerate and fly over the other aircraft avoiding a head-on crash by just 19 metres (62 feet).

A simulation shows the A330 was crossing the runway when the A320 was taking off

The plane accelerated and managed to fly over the other aircraft missing it by just 62 feet

The plane accelerated and managed to fly over the other aircraft missing it by just 62 feet

The captain, He Chao (pictured), was praised for his actions after the incident on October 11

The captain, He Chao (pictured), was praised for his actions after the incident on October 11

 

The terrifying incident took place on runway 36L at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport at 12:04pm on October 11.

The flight MU-5643, an Airbus A320-200, was about to take off when the flight MU 5106, an Airbus A330-300, had just landed and was taxiing nearby.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) released a simulation of the incident during their investigation last month.

The video shows the A320 was speeding up on the runway when Mr He spotted the A330 entering its runway just feet away.

At the time, the Airbus A320 was already travelling at approximately 240kmh (149mph), according to a statement on China Eastern Airlines‘ website.

Mr He decided to accelerated and made a sharp climb. His aircraft narrowly missed the other plane.

The near-miss incident has shocked the Chinese media. Many have compared it to the Tenerife airport disaster, a fatal runway crash between two Boeing 747s that killed 583 people in 1977.

Heroic actions: The captain of the flight, He Chao, was given £360,000 at a ceremony today

Both aircraft involved in the near collision belong to China Eastern Airlines (file photo)

China Eastern Airlines rewarded the quick-thinking pilot He Chao with the cash bonus during a ceremony earlier today. The cabin crew were also given 600,000 yuan (£71,000).

According to an earlier article from People’s Daily, there were 413 passengers and 26 crew in total on the two flights.

Both aircraft involved in the near collision belong to China Eastern Airlines.

The Airbus A330 had flown from Beijing to Shanghai, carrying 266 passengers, while the Airbus A320 was taking off from Shanghai for Tianjin, carrying 147 passengers.

The map from Flightradar24 shows the path of the two flights and how they might have collided on the runway

An investigation launched by China’s aviation authority, CAAC, found that air traffic control were at fault for the incident.

CAAC suggested that the control centre and the crew members of the A330 failed to maintain proper communication with the controller.

The authority has revoked the licenses of two air traffic controllers responsible for the incident and punished 13 air traffic control officials from The Eastern China Air Control Bureau.

 

 

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