Two days after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine, allegedly by Russian-speaking separatists, plunging hundreds of people into mourning, the personal stories of those who were lucky enough to cheat death came into public attention.
A British couple and their baby were bumped from the Malaysia Airlines flight because the aircraft was too full. Barry Sim and wife Izzy, from Scotland, were planning to board the doomed MH17 airliner at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport with their baby on Thursday, but they were told that all the seats were taken – and so were switched to a later KLM flight.
When asked about his reaction when he heard the news of the tragedy, Sim told The Telegraph: “You get this sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. We started getting butterflies. Your heartbeat starts going.”
“I cried. I feel like we were given a second chance,” said Barry Sim’s wife, realizing that they escaped death by mere fortune. In fact the shock was so great that the woman is afraid of falling victim to another air tragedy.
Mr Sim said: “In my mind lightning never strikes twice in the same place so I am still philosophical that you get on the flight and you go about your life. I know my wife doesn’t feel like that. Probably the last thing she wants to do now is fly, especially to Kuala Lumpur.”
An Australian couple also just missed being on MH17, according to an Australian newspaper.
Simone La Posta and her husband flew into KL via Amsterdam on the MH17 flight the day before.
“We originally had our itinerary to be on that flight but then we changed it thinking we were going to be too jet-lagged for work on Monday,” she told ABC radio station. “I’m pretty happy to be standing here talking to you right now. It’s a bit surreal to think that one day later and I wouldn’t be standing here talking with you right now,” the woman added.
Finally, a Dutch cyclist named Maarten de Jong has good reason to consider himself lucky as he had also booked a ticket for the ill-fated flight, but he decided to find a cheaper ticket from another carrier.
Amazingly, this is not the first time that the cyclist escapes death.
He also had plans to travel on the Malaysian company’s flight which disappeared in March, but decided in the last minute to chose another flight which did not include a stopover.