“I arrived at the gate two minutes after it was closed. I saw the other passengers getting on board and I was really upset they wouldn’t let me in,” Antonis Mavropoulos told private Alpha TV on Sunday evening. He was still in shock.
It was “pure luck” or a sequence of factors that Mavropoulos did not get on the fatal flight of Ethiopian Airlines that crashed six minutes after the take off killing 157 people, 149 passengers and 8 crew members.
Mavropoulos had arrived to Addis Abeba airport via another connection flight. He had his suitcase with him. “Because of the suitcase, they didn’t have to wait for me,” he said.
He explains that the reason he was late was that the person in charge to take him from the arrived plane to the departing one, flight ET 302, was late five minutes. “Then I went to the departure gate by myself,” he added.
“Had I given my suitcase or had the person in charge be in time, I would have being on board of the plane,” he stressed.
He described this experience is “one of the moments in life that changes the perspective of life … You realize that our life is hanging from unbranded filaments that you understand when they break apart..”
As he was the only person that missed the crashed flight, Mavropoulos had to undergo a kind of “pseudo-interrogation” as he said. “They kept me as potential suspect but it was clear there was no logical connection between me and the crash.”
Later on the day, Mavropoulos wrote down his shocking experience to have escaped death on his Facebook account.
March 10, 2019-my lucky day
Running to catch flight et 302 Addis Ababa – Nairobi, which crashed 6 minutes after taking off, I had my nerves because there was no one to help me go fast. I lost it for two minutes, when I arrived, the boarding was closed and I watched the last passengers in tunnel go in – I screamed to put me in but they didn’t allow it. In fact, the flight lost it because I didn’t give a suitcase (otherwise they would expect me for 10-15 minutes or more, because finding a suitcase loaded wants at least 40 minutes). Also, as I learned later, I lost her because I came out first and very quickly from the plane and the connection ambassador who came to receive me didn’t find me
Airport people, kind, promoted me to the next flight that would leave at 11:20, they apologized for the inconvenience and transferred me to a nice lounge for the-waiting.
On 10:50, as we joined the next flight, two security officers informed me that for security reasons that a senior officer will explain to me, they will not allow my boarding. In my intense protests they left no margin of discussion and led me to their superior, to the airport police department.
He told me gently not to protest and say thank you to God, because I am the only passenger who did not enter the flight et 302 which is missing. And that this was why they can’t let me go, until I determine who I am, because I didn’t get on the flight and everything. At First I thought he was lying, but his style left no margin of doubt.
I felt the ground lost under my feet, but I came back in 1-2 seconds because I thought something else would happen, some communication problem maybe. People were kind, they asked that they had to ask, they my elements and let me wait.
They made me sit in a living room and they told me to wait there until they warn me.
I was looking on the internet to find elements for the flight, friends from Nairobi informed me that 30 minutes after the expected time had not landed and there was no information about her luck and suddenly all the wifi of the airport.
Fortunately there are sms – from close friend I learned that the flight crashed almost just took off and that the issue was going out in the Greek media.
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 stood.
This text I wrote to manage my shock. I’m posting it because I want to tell everyone that the invisible and, nēmatídia of fortune, the out-of-plan circumstances knit the web in which our life is taken. It’s millions of small threads we almost never feel – but one to break is enough to feed the whole web instantly.
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 – kisses to all and a warm thank you for your touching support. Special citation reference for early surgery and support to Jeroen Par Dijk Panos Fragiadakis Haris Kamariotakis and a big sorry to my family for the shock you’ve been looking for.
Maybe not too old to rock n roll – but certainly too young to die…
Sunday 10/3/2019, 13:00 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
(the post went up from Nairobi to which I finally arrived)
The crash happened at 08:44 local time, six minutes after the months-old Boeing 737 Max-8 took off.
The cause of the disaster is not yet clear. However, the pilot had reported difficulties and had asked to return to Addis Ababa, the airline said.
“At this stage, we cannot rule out anything,” Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told reporters at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. “We cannot also attribute the cause to anything because we will have to comply with the international regulation to wait for the investigation.”
Visibility was said to be good but air traffic monitor Flightradar24 reported that the plane’s “vertical speed was unstable after take-off”.
An eyewitness at the scene told the BBC there was an intense fire as the aircraft hit the ground.
The plane was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines on 15 November last year. It underwent a “rigorous first check maintenance” on 4 February, the airline tweeted.
Another plane of the same model was involved in a crash less than five months ago, when a Lion Air flight crashed into the sea near Indonesia with nearly 190 people on board.
“Passengers from more than 30 countries were on board of the flight,” said Ethiopian Airlines.
Ethiopian Airlines secured Mavropoulos another ticket on a plane to Kenya, he left Addis Abeba three hours later.