Caution is the parent of safetyAnother emergency involving Croatia Airlines’ Dash8 Q400 aircraft has occurred, although this time the incident was much more serious. The incident took place on a scheduled flight from Split to Zagreb carrying among others the Hajduk football team. Immediately upon take off at 100 metres the baggage hold door of the Dash 8 swung open causing a sudden loss of altitude with the aircraft plunging towards the ground. The pilots, however, managed to stabilise the aircraft and immediately turned around and made a safe emergency landing. In a state of shock, the football players and other passengers stood on the runway afterwards as a technical check was carried out on the plane. The aircraft was serviced and able to depart at 14.00, safely landing in Zagreb.
Split Airport management has denied that the incident occurred saying that the light indicating that the baggage hold door was open turned on in the cockpit which led the pilot to request an emergency landing. According to Split Airport the door never opened and the indication light, not the door, was faulty. However, passengers on the flight said that the aircraft plunged with great speed causing panic in the cabin. The pilot then sharply rotated the aircraft and stabilised both the speed and heading.
This is the latest in a series of incidents that have taken place on the new Dash 8 Croatia Airlines fleet. The national airline of Croatia refused to comment on the incident.