Greek man says he narrowly missed doomed flight

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — A Greek man who narrowly missed the Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed near Addis Ababa on Sunday says he argued with ground staff to try and board after reaching the gate minutes too late.

“I saw the last passengers going through but the gate had already closed. I complained, in the usual way when that kind of thing happens. But they were very kind and placed me on another flight,” Antonis Mavropoulos told Greece’s private Skai Television, speaking from Nairobi.

Mavropoulos, who runs a recycling company and lives in Athens, was traveling to Kenya to attend an environmental conference.

“I’m slowly coming to terms with what happened and how close it came. On the other hand, I’m also very upset — I’m shattered — for those who were lost,” he said in the interview Monday. “To be honest, I didn’t get much sleep last night.”

Mavropoulos put his survival down to luck.

“I didn’t check my suitcase because I knew the gap between connecting flights was tight. If I had checked the bag in, they would have waited for me,” he said. “This is a very difficult moment — one that can change your life.”