It was a Sunday, March 10, and Greek local Antonis Mavropoulos was at the airport, on his way to board the Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines plane. The president of the non-profit organization International Solid Waste Association was heading to Nairobi for the United Environment Program annual assembly, but he arrived at his gate two minutes late, making him miss Flight ET302. Little did he know, those couple of minutes would actually save him from being among the 157 passengers who were killed just minutes after the Boeing 737 took off.
In a viral Facebook post entitled “My lucky day,” Antonis shared the story of how he was miraculously saved from the plane crash. “I was mad because nobody helped me reach the gate on time,” he wrote. “When I arrived, the boarding [gate] was closed and I watched the last passengers in the tunnel go in. I screamed [for the airline personnel] to put me in, but they didn’t allow it.”
To make up for the misunderstanding, the airline crew offered to put Antonis on the next flight. He got promoted to business class and was even offered a nice lounge for him to stay and relax while waiting for his flight.
But to Antonis’ surprise, airport security suddenly came into the lounge and invited him to come with them for questioning. Confused and infuriated, Antonis tried to protest, but because of the officers’ respectful insisting, he soon obliged and was brought to the airport’s police department.
At the office, Antonis was shocked to be informed that the plane he was supposed to board went missing just minutes after it took off. “He [superior] told me gently not to protest and say thank you to God, because I am the only passenger who did not enter the Flight ET302, which is missing,” Antonis wrote.
Out of protocol, Antonis was held at the airport for a few hours for investigation. “They can’t let me go, until [they] determine who I am, because I didn’t get on the flight and everything.” Nevertheless, he was thankful to have escaped the tragedy and expressed his gratitude and appreciation to those important to his life. “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.”
Text by Aizel Dolom. Photos from Facebook.
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