40-year-old pilot Zvonko Šitum became an overnight hero after managing to negotiate his way out of Croatia Airlines most serious safety incident since it launched its service some 20 years ago on Friday night. Split-born Šitum, who has been flying since 1992, took off from the Croatian capital Zagreb and was Zurich bound when an emergency light indicated unsafe nose gear. Zurich Airport halted all air traffic in readiness for the emergency landing after Mayday was declared by the onboard crew. Zurich air traffic control congratulated Šitum and the crew for doing an, “Excellent job, well done”, as all 60 passengers on board the Dash 8 arrived safely in the Swiss city.
“A few colleagues, who worked in the past for Croatia Airlines, and now work for foreign companies, have sent me messages and offers from the owners fo the companies that all I need to do is tell them what date I will come work for them. I thanked them for the offers, but I like it in Croatia,” Šitum told daily Jutarnji list, adding that there was not too much panic on board before the emergency landing as all the onboard crew done such a great job.