Greek Man Spared From Ethiopia Airlines Crash That Killed 157

He Was Running 2 Minutes Late
March 11, 2019 Updated: March 11, 2019

A Greek man said he would have been the 150th passenger on the Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines Boeing plane that crashed minutes after takeoff, claiming the lives of all 157 on board, but he was two minutes late for boarding.

Antonis Mavropoulos, president of the non-profit organization International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), was due to attend the U.N. Environment Programme’s annual assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, according to Athens News Agency.

But he was just minutes late for boarding the doomed flight to Nairobi in the early morning of March 10.

Mavropoulos took to Facebook to share his emotions in a post entitled “My lucky day,” and uploaded a photo of his flight ticket.

10 ΜΑΡΤΙΟΥ 2019 – Η ΤΥΧΕΡΗ ΜΟΥ ΜΕΡΑΤρέχοντας να προλάβω την πτήση ΕΤ 302 Αντίς Αμπέμπα – Ναϊρόμπι, που συνετρίβη 6…

Posted by Antonis Mavropoulos on Sunday, 10 March 2019

“I was mad because nobody helped me to reach the gate on time,” he wrote.

After Mavropoulos missed the flight, the airline initially booked him onto a flight later that day but he was surprised when airport staff didn’t allow him to board.

“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 wrote.

Authorities at the airport wanted to question Mavropoulos as to why he did not board the ill-fated flight.

“They said they couldn’t let me go before cross-checking my identity, the reason I hadn’t boarded the plane, etc.” he continued.

“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.”

The Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX crashed just minutes after takeoff from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, killing all 149 passengers on board from 35 countries. There were also eight members of crew on board the flight.

There have been no survivors from crash of flight ET302, the state-owned carrier confirmed later in the day.

The plane lost contact with the control tower at 8.44 a.m local time after it departed from Bole Airport International in the Ethiopian Capital at 8.08 a.m. on Sunday.

The aircraft crashed just moments after takeoff and went down near the town of Bishoftu—around 31 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of Addis Ababa.

Eight Americans, 18 Canadians, 32 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, eight Italians, eight Chinese, seven French and seven UK nationals, including United Nations workers, were among those onboard the flight, the airline confirmed through a social media post.

In a statement, the U.N. said that 19 of its staff members were among those on the Ethiopian Airlines flight.

Those killed worked for the International Telecommunications Union, the World Food Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Office of the High Commissioner on Refugees, World Bank and U.N. Assistance Mission in Somalia, International Organization for Migration in South Sudan, and Nairobi’s U.N .office.

Following the tragedy, Ethiopian Airlines said it in a statement it “deeply regrets the fatal accident” and has “teamed up with all stakeholders to conduct forensic investigations and identify the identities of the victims.”

Its Chief Executive “expresses his profound sympathy and condolences to the families and loved ones of passengers and crew who lost their lives in this tragic accident,” the airline posted on Twitter.

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