Man Says He Missed Doomed Ethiopian Airlines Flight by Minutes: 'I Collapsed'

The flight crashed just six minutes after takeoff, killing 157 people.
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A man who said he barely missed the doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight took to Facebook to share an emotional post about his experience. 

Antonis Mavropoulos shared the image of the ticket from the Ethiopian Airlines flight that took off from Addis Ababa on Sunday and crashed around six minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 people on the Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane.

In a post he titled, “My Lucky Day,” Mavropoulos, who is from Greece, talked about how he said he arrived at the gate just minutes after it was closed. 

"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.

Mavropoulos said he was rebooked to Nairobi, where the flight was headed, but a few hours later while he was waiting for the plane, security stopped him to speak to him. 

He said he was highly upset because they didn’t let him board the next flight but, he wrote that security then "told me gently not to protest and say thank you to God, because I am the only passenger who did not enter the flight.”

Once he texted friends in Greece, they informed him what had happened. He had been scheduled to travel to Nairobi for an environmental conference, according to reports.

"I collapsed because then I realized how lucky I was,” Mavropoulos added. "I'm posting because I want to tell everyone that the invisible threads of luck — the unplanned circumstances — knit the web of which our life is caught on," he wrote. "There are millions of small threads that we usually never feel — but if one breaks that whole web unwinds instantaneously."

As the crash is being investigated, many countries have pulled the 737 Max 8 airplane. Less than five  months ago, a Lion Air plane of the same Boeing model crashed into the Java Sea just 12 minutes after it took off from Indonesia. All 189 passengers and crew were killed. 

China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, Singapore and the United Kingdom have grounded the model from flying until further investigation. In the United States, only Southwest and American Airlines use the 737 Max 8 plane and the FAA has not ordered a grounding of them as yet. 

"External reports are drawing similarities between this accident and the Lion Air Flight 610 accident," the FAA said in a statement. "However, this investigation has just begun and to date we have not been provided data to draw any conclusions or take any actions."

Boeing said it stands by the plane.

"The 737 MAX is a safe airplane that was designed, built and supported by our skilled employees who approach their work with the utmost integrity," the company said in part in a statement, adding that it extended its condolences to those killed in the crash.

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