Category: Current Affairs
Published on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 00:00
Meet the man who has narrowly avoided the gnarly, boney fingers of Death two times. Dutch Cyclist Maarten de Jonge revealed how he cheated death twice after changing his plans to fly on both the Malaysia Airlines passenger jets involved in international aviation disasters over the past four months.
The 29-year-old has to travel around the world to compete for Malaysia's Terengganu cycling team, and in doing so, has now had two very lucky near misses.
De Jonge told Dutch broadcaster RTV Oost that he has been due to travel on flight MH17. The Boeing 777 commercial jet was shot down over Ukraine last Thursday, killing all 300 passengers on board. The cyclist said that he only decided to change his flight at the last minute, after discovering that traveling via Frankfurt would be cheaper.
De Jonge had been due to compete in a race in Taiwan, Marca reported, and decided to take a different flight an hour earlier that did not include a stopover in Beijing.
Tweeting a link on Thursday to a Dutch article about the MH17 disaster, De Jonge said:
"Had I departed today, then... You should try not to worry too much because then you won't get anywhere. I have been lucky twice, this will be the third time as well."
During his interview with the local broadcaster, De Jonge revealed an extra bit of information that would shock everyone even more. Previously before the MH17 tragedy, the cyclist had also been planning to travel on flight MH370, the Malaysia jet which mysteriously vanished on 8 March and still remains missing somewhere in the Indian Ocean despite international efforts to locate it.
In the interview, he grimly mentioned that having changed his flight plans at the last minute, he actually spoke to a couple of passengers waiting to board MH370, and who have not been seen since.
“I could have taken that one just as easily,” De Jonge said in the interview. “It's inconceivable. I am very sorry for the passengers and their families, yet I am very pleased I'm unharmed.”
In a statement on his website, De Jonge said he would not be giving any further interviews out of respect for those who have died in the two tragedies.
Since hinting at his close calls on Twitter, the cyclist said he had been “overwhelmed” by the international response to his story. However, he still has a very philosophical thought about life saying, “You should try not to worry too much because then you won't get anywhere. I've been lucky twice...”