Greek man saved from Ethiopian Airlines crash by being late

Mr Antonis Mavropoulos reached the departure gate in Addis Ababa just two minutes after it was closed, making him the only passenger not to have boarded the doomed flight on Sunday.
Mr Antonis Mavropoulos reached the departure gate in Addis Ababa just two minutes after it was closed, making him the only passenger not to have boarded the doomed flight on Sunday.PHOTO: FACEBOOK
Rescue workers carry wreckage at the crash site.
Rescue workers carry wreckage at the crash site.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

ATHENS (AFP) - A Greek man said on Sunday (March 10) that he would have been the 158th person on the Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines Boeing plane that crashed, killing all on board, except he arrived two minutes late for the flight.

"I was mad because nobody helped me to reach the gate on time," Mr Antonis Mavropoulos said in a Facebook post entitled "My lucky day" in which he includes a photo of his ticket.

Mr Mavropoulos, president of the International Solid Waste Association, a non-profit organisation, was travelling to Nairobi to attend the annual assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme, according to Athens News Agency.

He was supposed to board the plane but he reached the departure gate just two minutes after it was closed.

He booked a later flight but was then prevented from boarding by airport staff.

"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 ET302 flight that was lost," Mr Mavropoulos said in his post, in which he admits being in shock.

The airport authorities explained that they wanted to question him because he was the only passenger booked onto the doomed flight who was not on board.

 
 

"They said they couldn't let me go before cross-checking my identity, the reason I hadn't boarded the plane etc."

The Nairobi-bound Boeing 737 crashed just minutes after an early-morning take-off Sunday from Addis Ababa.

People holding passports from more than 30 countries were on board, including a number of UN workers.

State-owned Ethiopian Airline had taken delivery of the Boeing 737-800 Max 8 plane on Nov 15. It was of the same type as a plane that crashed in October after take-off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.