Greek national Antonis Mavropoulos would have been the 150th passenger aboard ill-fated Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines Boeing that crashed. Greek City Times reported that Antonis would have died along with his co-passengers had he not arrived two minutes late for the flight; the ground staff did not let him board the plane.
Speaking to Greece’s Skai TV, he said: “I saw the last passengers going through, but the gate had already closed. I complained, in the usual way when that kind of thing happens. But they were very kind and placed me on another flight.”
According to African News Agency, Antonis, the president of the International Solid Waste Association, was travelling to Nairobi to take part in the annual assembly of the UN Environment Programme. He was to board the flight that crashed, but his late arrival at the departure gate saved his life.
In a Facebook post titled “My Lucky Day”, he said he learnt about the crash while checking in for a later flight, where again he was intercepted by the airport staff.
He wrote in the post: “They led me to the police station of the airport. The officer told me not to protest but to pray to God because I was the only passenger that didn’t board the ET 302 flight that was lost.”
He was taken to the cops because they wanted to question him as he was the only passenger of the doomed flight who wasn’t aboard.
“They said they couldn’t let me go before cross-checking my identity, the reason I hadn’t boarded the plane etc. I’m slowly coming to terms with what happened and how close it came. On the other hand, I’m also very upset — I’m shattered — for those who were lost.”
He added how if he had checked in his suitcase, the flight would have waited for him, which could have ended his life.