On Sunday, Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 took off from Addis Ababa bound for Nairobi. Just minutes later, the plane had crashed to the ground, leaving all 157 passengers and crew aboard the plane dead. Not everyone holding a ticket was actually on board the flight, however.
Antonis Mavropoulos was due to be on the plane as well but had spent almost an hour chasing after a suitcase that had gone missing from an earlier flight. As a result of his frantic searching for his suitcase, he was delayed in getting to the boarding gate, according to the ABC.
After running to the boarding gate, he found that it was closed, and the staff refused to allow him on board despite the fact that he could still see other passengers busy boarding the plane. He took to Facebook with his unbelievable story.
“I was mad because there was no one to help me go fast. When I arrived [at the gate], the boarding was closed and I watched the last passengers in the tunnel go in – I screamed to put me on but they didn’t allow it.”
The airline changed his ticket to the later flight, but when he went to board, security called him to the airport police department. He was annoyed, thinking he was going to miss the second plane as well as a result. But security warned him “not to protest and say thank you to God” instead.
— The Hill (@thehill) March 12, 2019
Security wanted to confirm Mavropoulos’ identity and to find out why it was that he hadn’t been aboard the doomed flight when it went down. Mavropoulos was told that the flight had gone missing soon after take-off and had never arrived in Nairobi. It took a few minutes for the gravity of the news to sink in and for him to realize just how lucky he was to still be alive.
As soon as he understood that the plane had not arrived in Nairobi as scheduled, he started trying to search the internet for news on the plane. He found out via a text message that the plane had gone down, and immediately he phoned his family to let them know he had not boarded his flight as planned.
While Mavropoulos is grateful to be alive for not having boarded the plane, he was devastated to learn that everyone else aboard the plane had died.
“On the other hand, I’m also very upset — I’m shattered — for those who were lost. To be honest, I didn’t get much sleep last night.”