Dutch cyclist says he almost booked ticket on doomed Malaysia Airlines flight
JUL 19, 2014 5:19p ET
Dutch cyclist Maarten de Jonge says he was nearly on the doomed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that crashed Thursday in the Ukraine.
The 29-year-old de Jonge, speaking to local Dutch broadcaster RTV Oost, said that he opted for a different flight that went through Frankfurt to save money, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Flight 17, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed over the Ukraine, killing all 298 people aboard. It is believed the plane was struck by a surface-to-air missile, a casualty of the ongoing conflict between Russia and the Ukraine.
The Herald also said de Jonge, who rides for a team based in Malaysia, flew out of Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, in March on the same day Malaysia Flight 370 left from that airport and vanished without a trace with 239 people on board.
"I could have taken that one just as easily," de Jonge told RTV Oost, reportedly about the March incident. "It's inconceivable. I am very sorry for the passengers and their families, yet I am very pleased I'm unharmed."
Through statements on his website, de Jonge has tried to mute the attention sent his way and expressed remorse for the families whose lives have been affected by the tragedies.
Maarten de Jonge: