James D. Morgan/Getty Images
Erika Owen
November 04, 2016

China Eastern Airlines pilot He Chao made a quick decision at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport that ended up saving 439 lives: While preparing to take off on October 11, he noticed another airplane preparing to land on the same runway.

He quickly accelerated and flew right over the approaching airplane; officials later found out that the two airplanes came within 19 meters of each other.

The Civil Aviation Administration attributed the mishap to air traffic control miscommunications, and those responsible lost their licenses, according to People's Daily Online.

Meanwhile, He Chao's skillful feat did not go unnoticed: The pilot received around $443,000 from the airline as a thank you for the impressive maneuver.

The crew also received a gift of $88,827.

Here's a breakdown of what happened on the runway:

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