Saving over 439 people at the Hongqiao International Airport last October 11, Captain He Chao of Eastern Airlines was named a hero and given a reward. Already known as an "advanced party member", an honor given to just a few pilots, the pilot brought even more honor to his job, and massive thanksgiving to the 26 crew and 413 passengers he has saved.

The incident itself was filmed and showed Captain Chao's quick-thinking and sharp reflexes in maneuvering the A320 Jet Airbus he was preparing for takeoff. According to the NZ Herald, Chao noticed an A330 Airbus on the runway blocking the path while gathering speed to takeoff. Knowing that he did not have enough time to avoid the collision, Chao accelerated to full speed in order to take off sooner, enabling his plane to miss the other by a distance of only 19 meters. More than an hour later, Chao safely landed his flight in Tianjin.

The South China Morning Post says that the near collision was caused by errors on the part of air traffic controllers, and failure to communicate on the part of the rogue A330 Airbus. Because of this, two air traffic controllers lost their licenses and 13 other staff were sanctioned for this mishap.

The incident was widely covered in China due to its similarity to a disaster at the Canary in Islands in 1977 when 583 people were killed due to the miscalculation and collision of two passenger jets on the runway. In recent weeks, another aircraft in China also faced a near disaster, having flown in the wrong direction after takeoff from Southwest China. The crisis was averted by air traffic controllers who directed the flight back on course.

For his bravery and expertise, Chao, nicknamed "Captain Mighty" and "Captain Decisively", was awarded $605,000 and his colleagues in the cabin received $113,000.