Antonis Mavropoulos could have easily been the 150th passenger on board the flight, which crashed and killed all 157 on board but since he was running late, he couldn’t make it.
A Greek man who demanded to be let onboard Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 as he was running just two minutes late was told to count his blessings after he learned that the plane had crashed.
While Antonis Mavropoulos, fortunately, ended up missing his flight on Sunday, he could have easily been the 150th passenger on board the doomed carrier, which crashed and killed all 157 on board, Mirror reports.
According to the report, the dad became late for boarding after he spent about 40 minutes trying to locate a missing suitcase from an earlier leg of his layover journey. Mavropoulos spoke of his tryst with certain death in a Facebook post titled “My lucky day.”
The traveler said was “mad” and “screaming” at airport authorities after no one helped him and he was not able to reach the desk before the plane’s final boarding call and so could not board the flight.
But just minutes after taking off from the airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mavropoulous learned that the Boeing 737 Max 8 plane had crashed killing all aboard the flight. He was subsequently taken in for questioning by police, when he revealed that he was en route to Nairobi, Kenya, to attend the annual assembly of the UN Environment Programme – just like many of the victims onboard.
According to Mavropoulos, who is the president of the non-profit International Solid Waste Association, he protested and looked through the glass as passengers settled into their seats in the aircraft.
“I was mad because nobody helped me to reach the gate on time. I was screaming to put me on but they did not allow it,” Mavropoulos wrote on Facebook, attaching a photo of his plane ticket.
He said that he profusely complained to airport staff to get on board the plane, which took off without him on what was meant to be a two-hour journey from Addis Ababa to Nairobi. However, he was denied and led away by authorities.
“They led me to the police station of the airport,” he wrote. “The officer told me not to protest but to pray to God because I was the only passenger that didn’t board the ET302 flight that was lost.”
Law enforcement were curious to find out why Mavropoulos wasn’t on board, and thereby took him in for questioning. “They said they couldn’t let me go before cross-checking my identity, the reason I hadn’t boarded the plane etc,” he added.
After learning that he had narrowly avoided death, Mavropoulos was left in a state of shock. Realizing how “lucky” he was, he began contacting his family members and closed ones to inform them he wasn’t on board and was still alive and well. “Maybe not too old to rock and roll – but certainly too young to die,” he wrote in conclusion.
“This is one of those moments which changes one’s perspective of life,” Mavropoulos later to Alpha TV. “You realize that our lives are hanging from threads. I just want to send many kisses to my wife, my mother, and my daughter.”
The deadliest aviation accident in Ethiopia’s history saw all 149 passengers and eight crew members die after the Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed on Sunday near the town of Bishoftu.