SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- A Hungarian fighter pilot who became a successful businessman after his defection to the west was reunited Thursday with the son he had left behind 12 years ago.
Sandor Zaboki, 39, and his son, Sandor Jr., 13, met each other at San Diego's Lindbergh Field.
'It was a pretty strange feeling,' Zaboki senior said. 'I just couldn't believe it was happening. Until I saw him, I wasn't sure he'd be on that plane.'
The father moved to San Diego six years ago and became the head of a computer company. He had broken away from his squadron over Hungary in 1970 and flew to Italy in his MiG jet.
Zoboki had planned to have his wife and Sandor Jr., 1 year old at the time, follow him, but the plans fell through.
After Mrs. Zaboki died several years ago, Zaboki had tried unsuccessfuly to get a passport for his son so he could emigrate to the United States. The father went to Washington where he parked himself in front of the Soviet and Hungarian embassies with a sign that read: 'Let My Son Go.'
Zaboki said the picketing is what convinced the Hungarians to issue the passport to his son.
A spokeswoman for San Diego Rep. Bill Lowrey said Zandor's plight had triggered a low key campaign by the State Deptartment that convinced the Hugarians to allow the reunion.
Zaboki has remarried and has a 6 year old son.