A Greek man could have been among the 157 people who died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash had he arrived two minutes early for boarding, news agency AFP reported. The passenger, Antonis Mavropoulos, shared a picture of his air ticket in a Facebook post titled “My lucky day”.
Mavropoulos was supposed to board the flight but he reached the departure gate just two minutes after it closed. “I was mad because nobody helped me to reach the gate on time,” he wrote in the post. He then booked another flight but was prevented from boarding by airport staff, AFP reported.
“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,” Mavropoulos said in his post in which he admits being in shock. The staff then explained to him that they wanted to question him as he was the only passenger booked on the flight who wasn’t onboard.
They asked him why wasn’t he on the plane despite having a ticket. “They said they couldn’t let me go before cross-checking my identity, the reason I hadn’t boarded the plane etc,” he added.
Mavropoulos, president of the International Solid Waste Association, a non-profit organization, was travelling to Nairobi to attend the annual assembly of the UN Environment Programme, according to Athens News Agency.
The Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines aircraft crashed six minutes after take-off Sunday morning from Addis Ababa, killing 149 passengers and 8 crew members. Four Indians were also among the dead. People holding passports from 32 countries and the UN were onboard the plane, which ploughed into a field 60 km southeast of Addis Ababa, the carrier’s CEO Tewolde GebreMariam said.
State-owned Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest carrier, said the Boeing 737-800MAX took off at 8:38 am local time from Bole International Airport and “lost contact” six minutes later. Scheduled to land in Nairobi at 10:25 am, it crashed near the village of Tulu Fara outside Bishoftu. Rescue crews were retrieving human remains from the wreckage, officials said. Ethiopian Airlines confirmed, “there are no survivors”.