isaster was narrowly averted on the runway of Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport this week thanks to the eagle eyes and quick reflexes of one hero pilot.
A Delta plane bound for Detroit with more than 200 people on board was in the middle of a high-speed takeoff on Tuesday morning when a Japan Airlines plane entered the runway at the other end. Quickly, the Delta pilot slammed on the brakes. According to passengers, before the plane was brought to a halting stop, its nose had already started to lift off the ground.
The stop was so dramatic that the plane’s tires were destroyed. A firefighting team was dispatched to spray water on the tires and brakes so that they did not ignite.
Afterward, the plane taxied back to the terminal where passengers were told that they could take another flight the following day to Detroit or choose a different route to the city.
Aviation authorities are investigating the incident but have yet to announce any conclusions. Shine cites an anonymous industry insider as saying that the Japan Airlines plane had been told to wait at the taxiway but asked to proceed across the runway and then did so without permission from air traffic control.
The incident calls to mind another near catastrophe that took place in 2016 at Shanghai’s other airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International, where a China Eastern Airlines pilot named He Chao narrowly avoided a collision by accelerating and flying over another plane which had invaded the runway, likely saving hundreds of lives.
For his quick thinking, He was given 3 million yuan as a reward.