Greek national Antonis Mavropoulos of the International Solid Waste Association was on his way from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to Nairobi, Kenya, to attend a United Nations session, but missed Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 by just a few minutes because he briefly lost track of a suitcase, according to a Facebook post.
He bought tickets to another flight two hours later, but was gobsmacked to learn that the plane he’d missed had crashed just minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 people aboard — including 19 UN workers.
Mavropoulos called his delay a blessing in disguise.
“The moment I made that thought, I collapsed because then exactly I realized how lucky I stood,” Mavropoulos wrote in Greek. “Really, it’s the first time I’m so glad I wrote a post and I’m grateful to live and that I have so many friends that made me feel their love.”
Then there’s Ahmed Khalid, who was on his way to visit family in Nairobi but missed the doomed flight.
“When I reached Addis Ababa, they told me to take the second flight, which is at 11 o’clock, and I said it’s fine,” Ahmed told Abu Dhabi’s The National.
He learned about the fatal crash soon after the plane went down — as did his dad, Khalid Ali Abdulrahman, who was waiting for him at the airport in Nairobi.
Except the dad didn’t know his son got on a later flight.
“I arrived here [at Nairobi airport] shortly after 10 a.m. and as I waited, a security person approached me and asked me which flight are you waiting for,” Abdulrahman said.
“I answered him quickly because I wanted him to direct me to the arrivals, so I told him Ethiopia, and then he said: ‘Sorry, that one has crashed.’ I was shocked, but shortly after, my son contacted me and told me he is still in Addis and did not board that flight, he is waiting for the second one which has been delayed.”