A traffic jam saved Sony Setiawan’s life Monday.
The Indonesian man was booked to fly on Lion Air Flight JT 610, which crashed off the coast of Jakarta around 6:35 a.m. local time, 13 minutes after takeoff. All 189 people on board are presumed dead.
“I usually take (flight) JT610,” Setiawan told the Agence France Press wire service.
An official with Indonesia’s finance ministry, Setiawan takes the flight from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang Airport in Bangka Belitung Islands Province on a weekly basis along with his colleagues, 20 of whom were believed to have been on Flight JT 610.
But this time, Setiawan got caught up in the Indonesian capital’s notoriously bad traffic on his way to Soekarno-Hatta Airport and wound up taking a different flight.
“I don’t know why the traffic at the toll road was so bad,” said Setiawan, who hails from Bandung in West Java. “I usually arrive in Jakarta at 3 a.m. but this morning I arrived at the airport at 6:20 and I missed the flight.”
When he landed and heard the news, he was overcome with emotion.
“I cried. I know my friends were on that flight,” he explained.
Recalling his phone call to his family after landing, he shared, “My family was in shock and my mother cried, but I told them I was safe, so I just have to be grateful.”
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