A Dubai resident missed the Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines that crashed minutes after takeoff, killing all on board.
Ahmed Khalid said he caught a flight from Dubai to Addis Ababa, which was delayed, and was told on arrival that he would have to take a later flight with Ethiopian Airlines for his connection to Nairobi.
Khalid Ali Abdulrahman was waiting for his son Ahmed, who works in Dubai, at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, and feared the worst when a security official told him the plane had crashed.
“I arrived here shortly after 10am, and as I waited, a security person approached me and asked me which flight are you waiting for," Khalid told AFP.
"I answered him quickly because I wanted him to direct me to the arrivals, so I told him Ethiopia, and then he said: ‘Sorry, that one has crashed.’
“I was shocked, but shortly after, my son Ahmed Khalid contacted me and told me he is still in Addis and did not board that flight, he is waiting for the second one which has been delayed,” he explained.
A Greek man was in a similar position, except he arrived two minutes late for the flight.
"I was mad because nobody helped me to reach the gate on time," Antonis Mavropoulos said in a Facebook post entitled "My lucky day" in which he includes a photo of his ticket.
Mavropoulos, president of the International Solid Waste Association, a non-profit organization, was travelling to Nairobi to attend the annual assembly of the UN Environment Programme, according to Athens News Agency.
He was supposed to board the plane but he reached the departure gate just two minutes after it was closed.
He booked a later flight but was then prevented from boarding by airport staff.
"They led me to the police station of the airport. The officer told me not to protest but to pray to God because I was the only passenger that didn't board the ET 302 flight that was lost," Mavropoulos said in his post in which he admits being in shock.
The airport authorities explained that they wanted to question him because he was the only passenger booked onto the doomed flight who wasn't on board.
"They said they couldn't let me go before cross-checking my identity, the reason I hadn't boarded the plane etc."
The Nairobi-bound Boeing 737 crashed just minutes after an early-morning takeoff Sunday from Addis Ababa.
People holding passports from more than 30 countries were on board including a number of UN workers.
State-owned Ethiopian Airline had taken delivery of the Boeing 737-800 MAX plane on November 15. It was of the same type as a plane that crashed in October after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.