Antonis Mavropoulos was billed to be aboard the ill-fated Boeing 737 Max plane that crashed last Sunday killing 147 passengers and eight crew members.
But somehow Mavropoulos who is said to be the president of a not-for-profit organization called International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) was not on board when the woebegone plane took flight only to crash six minutes after causing the deaths of 157 persons who hailed from around thirty countries including two Nigerians.
The man who counted himself lucky spoke of how he missed the flight in a post in Greek on his Facebook page translated into English by Google.
The post entitled: MY LUCKY DAY reads:
Running on the flight ET 302 Addis Ababa – Nairobi, crashed 6 minutes after taking off, I had my nerves because there was no one to help me go quickly. I lost it for two minutes, when I arrived, the boarding had been closed and I was looking at the last passengers on the bell to come in – I was screaming to put me on but they did not allow it. In fact, I missed the flight because I had not given a suitcase (otherwise they would wait for me for 10-15 minutes or more, because finding a suitcase lasted for at least 40 minutes). Also, as I later learned, I lost it because I came out first and very quickly from the plane and the Ambassador connection that came to pick me up did not find me.
The airport’s people, courteous, prompted me on the next flight leaving at 11:20, apologized to me for the inconvenience and took me to a nice lounge for the three-hour wait.
At 10:50, as I boarded the next flight, two cheeks informed me that for safety reasons explained to me by a senior officer, they would not allow me to board. My intense protests left no room for debate and led them to their superior, to the police station of the airport.
He kindly told me not to protest and say thank God, because I am the only passenger who did not get on flight ET 302 which is ignored. And that’s why they can not let me go until they know who I am because I did not get on the flight and the stuff. At first I thought he was lying, but his style left no room for doubt.
I felt the ground under my feet to be lost, but I came back in 1-2 seconds because I thought something else would be, some communication problem maybe. People were kind, asked they had to ask, they checked my details and let me wait.
They put me in a living room and told me to wait there until they were notified.
I was searching on the internet to find flight information, friends from Nairobi informed me that 30 minutes after the expected time had not landed and there was no information about her fate and all of the airport’s WiFi was suddenly cut.
Fortunately, there are SMS – from a close friend I learned that the flight crashed almost just as it took off and that the issue was coming to the Greek media.
Then I realized that I had to immediately contact my own people and tell them that I was not in and that for two small accidental occasions I lost the flight – the moment I made this thought I collapsed because then I just realized that I was lucky I stood.
This text I wrote to manage my shock. I pose because I want to tell everyone that the invisible and impenetrable filaments of fortune, the out-of-plan conjunctions knit the web in which our life is caught. There are millions of small threads that we almost never feel – but one is broken enough to melt all the tissue instantly.
It’s really the first time I’m so glad I wrote a post, and I’m grateful I live and I have so many friends who made me feel their love – kissing to everyone and a warm thank you for your moving support. Special mention for the timely intervention and support of Jeroen Par Dijk Panos Fragiadakis Haris Kamariotakis and a great apology to my family for the shock they experienced.
Maybe not too old to rock n roll – but sure too young to die …