Man Who Narrowly Missed Ethiopian Airlines Flight That Crashed Shares His Experience
"The invisible threads of luck... knit the web of which our life is caught on."
This week, Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed while en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, Kenya, killing all 157 people on board. Antonis Mavropoulos, who lives in Greece and runs a recycling company, was set to be on board the flight, but narrowly missed it due to a tight connection. He shared his story and a photo of his boarding pass in a Facebook post that has now gone massively viral.
At the time, Mavropoulos was traveling to Nairobi for an environmental conference and arrived in Addis Adaba, the capital of Ethiopia, with less than 30 minutes to make his connecting flight. He made it to the gate just two minutes after the cut off time for boarding, and was therefore refused entry onto the plane.
"When I arrived, boarding was closed and I watched the last passengers in the tunnel go in. I screamed to put me in but they didn't allow it," he wrote.
The flight lost contact six minutes after takeoff.
Mavropoulos said he was booked on a flight that left three hours later, but, when the time came to board, was told he could not do so for security reasons. He began to complain when a security staff member "told me gently not to protest and say thank you to God, because I am the only passenger who did not enter the flight."
As he waited for them to verify his identity, he heard the news about the flight, and immediately called his family to let them know he was not on the plane.
"At that moment I collapsed because I realized exactly just how lucky I am," he wrote.
He added that the other thing that saved him was the fact that he was only flying with carry-on luggage, as he believes that if his luggage had been on board they would have held the plane. He also said he wrote the Facebook post as a way of managing his own shock and to remind everyone "that the invisible threads of luck—the unplanned circumstances—knit the web of which our life is caught on. There are millions of small threads that we usually never feel—but if one breaks that whole web unwinds instantaneously." And if you need guidance on reflection, yourself, please know that This Is What You Should Do When You Feel That "Life Is Too Hard."