Dutch cyclist Maarten De Jonge is perhaps the luckiest man on earth. Maarten, who is a part of the Terrengganu team in Malaysia, has miraculously managed to escape certain death – twice. Maarten was scheduled to fly on both the doomed Malaysia Airlines flights – the lost MH370 and the downed MH17. On both occasions, Maarten changed his plans at the last minute which in turn saved his life, reports ABC News.
The 29-year-old, who is a native of the Dutch town of Oldenzaal, has revealed on his website that he had planned to travel back to Kuala Lumpur on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17. He was in the Netherlands to participate in the National Cycling championships, says a Sydney Morning Herald report. His chosen flight for the trip back was MH17, which was a direct flight. However, Maarten noticed that if he chose to travel via Frankfurt on Sunday on a KLM flight, he would save a significant amount of money. It was this decision that saved his life. Maarten would have otherwise been included in the list of 298 people – of which 189 were Dutch nationals who were killed after Flight MH17 was shot down over the Ukrainian skies.
If this sounded miraculous enough, Maarten had an equally crazy story to tell after the loss of Malaysia Airlines MH370 on March 8, 2014. As told to local broadcaster RTV Oost, Maarten had traveled for Beijing on another flight at around the same time as the MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur – never to be seen again. He says:
“I could have taken that one just as easily,”
In the interview with RTV, he also said that he had talked to some of the passengers who later boarded the MH370 – all of whom have been missing for over four months now. Maarten, out of respect for the people who died in both the incidents, has decided not to talk about his lucky escape as other families grieve their relatives.
“It’s inconceivable. I am very sorry for the passengers and their families, yet I am very pleased I’m unharmed,” Maarten says.
He has clarified the same in a statement on his website saying that he was overwhelmed by the response his tweet (which is in Dutch) has had. Maarten finished in the 35th place in the Dutch National cycling championship, which was held on June 30. He is flying back today on another Malaysia Airlines flight from Frankfurt.
When asked if he is worried about taking this Malaysia Airlines flight, Maarten said;
“You should try not to worry too much because then you won’t get anywhere. I have been lucky twice, hope that is the case the third time as well.”
Do you think it was sheer luck that saved Maarten De Jonge’s life twice?
[Image Via Maarten De Jonge]