Antonis Mavropoulos was en route to attend a UN event in Nairobi by boarding the same ill-fated flight EI-302.
When you first read about it, it appears like something straight out of the disaster movie - Final Destination. Movie buffs of this famous film of the 2000s will remember a scene where the main protagonist get out of the plane only for it to later burst into flames. The recent crash of Ethiopian Airlines that crashed just minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa on March 10 has brought to the limelight somewhat of a similar case. A Greek citizen named Antonis Mavropoulos wrote about how he just narrowly missed getting into the Ethiopian Airlines flight in a Facebook post that has now gone viral and shared now been shared thousands of times reports CNN. In his post titled 'My Lucky Day', written on March 10, Mavropoulos shared an image of what appears to be his boarding pass and recounted what went down just before the flight took off. He wrote that he arrived at his gate just after boarding had finished on Sunday morning. He wrote: When I arrived, boarding was closed and I watched the last passengers in (the) tunnel go in. I screamed to put me in but they didn't allow it. Antonis would be indeed be thanking his lucky stars that he didn't get in.
Six minutes after takeoff, the flight crashed and killed all 157 people on board. He further wrote on his post that he might not have been allowed to go in because of an issue with his suitcase. Mavropoulos wrote he was transferred to the next flight to Nairobi but was later told he was unable to board because security wanted to talk with him after discovering the plane had lost contact. According to a report in the BBC, the victims onboard are people from over than 30 countries, including 18 Canadians, 32 Kenyans and seven British nationals.
Mavropoulos is the president of the International Solid Waste Association, a non-profit and was en route to Nairobi to attend a United Nations seminar. In fact, the ill-fated flight had a number of humanitarian workers and international experts as it's passengers who were going to Kenya to attend a major UN environmental summit that was taking place in the Kenyan capital the BBC report states.
Mavropolous was initially angry at the airline staff since they had not helped him with catching the flight. The Ethiopian Airline flight was a connecting flight for Mavropolous and he highlighted how he had just around 30 minutes to catch it. Speaking about the company staff who was supposed to take him to his next flight, he told BBC, "I had a 30-minute connection and my flight arrived on time. My connection ambassador came after I left the plane."
He further said, "He (the ambassador) was trying to find me. I would like to say many thanks to this ambassador who saved my life. My luggage was on me and they didn't need to wait for me. I saw the last passengers in the corridor." Mavropoulos wrote that he texted friends in Nairobi trying to get news of the plane, before eventually receiving a message from a friend in Greece confirming the news and he could not believe his luck.
After he missed his flight, Mavropolous wrote that he was asked to take another flight. He wrote: The airport people promoted me to the next flight that would leave at 11:20. They apologized for the inconvenience and transferred me to a nice waiting lounge. At around 10.50 a.m, when he was ready to board his second flight, two security officers informed him that he would not be allowed to board the flight. Mavropolous protested intensely with the airport police department since he did not know what had happened.
He then wrote: He (senior police officer) told me gently not to protest and say thank you to God because I am the only passenger who did not enter the flight 302 which is missing. And that this was why they can't let me go. At first, I thought he was lying. Mavropolous wrote that when he began to realize what might have happened, he wrote: I did not feel the ground beneath my feet. He soon contacted his family members since he knew that they would be worried.
He wrote: Then I realized that I must immediately contact my own people and tell them that I was not in and that for two small random circumstances I lost the flight - the moment I made that thought I collapsed because then exactly I realized how lucky I was. The CNN report said that the crash has led to questions about Boeing's new 737 MAX 8 jet that was also involved in the Lion Air crash that killed 189 people last October. "At this point, based on the information available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators," said Charlie Miller, Boeing's vice president of communications, in a statement.