Ahmed Khalid would have been on board the Ethiopian Airways flight ET302 that crashed yesterday if not for a short delay that saved his life.
Headed home to his family in Kenya, Ahmed was flying to Nairobi from Dubai. He was supposed to arrive Addis Ababa to board the fatal Ethiopian Airways flight ET302 but his flight from Dubai arrived too late to make his planned connection.
That unexpected delay saved his life.
Just six minutes after take off from Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport’s, flight ET302 crashed (see pictures from the plane crash here), killing all 157 on board. Among the 33 nationalities were 2 Nigerian professors, local travellers, aid workers, UN staff and government officials.
Ahmed Khalid said:
“When I reached Addis Ababa they told me to take the second flight, which is at 11 o’clock and I said it’s fine,” Ahmed recounted.
But when the passengers realised something had gone wrong with the earlier departure, he says they asked airline employees.
“Everyone was asking the cabin crew what was happening, but no one was saying anything. They were just going up and down until one of the passengers saw on his mobile that the first plane which had just flew, like six minutes after it flew, it just crashed,” he said.
Ahmed’s father, Khalid Ali Abdulrahman was waiting at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta airport, unaware that his son had missed the ill-fated flight.
“I arrived here [at Nairobi airport] shortly after 10am and as I waited, a security person approached me and asked me which flight are you waiting for.
“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’.”
Mr Ali Abdulrahman said he feared the worst.
“I was shocked, but shortly after, my son 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.”
May the souls of the dead rest in peace.