A Russian man said he is celebrating his “second birthday” after he and his girlfriend narrowly avoided death by changing their tickets before a doomed flight that killed 71 people.
Maxim Kolomeytsev, a 37-year-old from Sochi, had a seat on the plane heading from Moscow to his hometown, Orsk, which crashed southeast of the Russian capital Sunday.
“At the last moment I was brought into the car dealership and transferred the flight a week later. I lost 10,000 rubles to exchange the tickets. I gained my life,” he wrote on the social network VKontakte.
The story of Kolomeytsev, a real estate agent who said he was going to celebrate his birthday with his girlfriend Nadezhda and loved ones in Orsk, was widely reported in Russian media as the country looked to make sense of its latest aviation disaster.
He told Komsomolskaya Pravda that the delayed delivery of a new car forced a change in flight plans for him and his girlfriend, and that he changed his tickets a few days before the journey.
The survivor said he was celebrating his “second birthday” after avoiding the catastrophe.
Investigators are still looking into the cause of the crash, and are still looking into whether the plane broke apart in the air or after hitting the ground.
The flight disappeared from radars shortly after leaving Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, and was found in the suburbs of the city.
Russia’s emergency ministry confirmed that all 71 people aboard — 65 passengers and six crew — died.
State media reported Monday that investigators had found both of the aircraft’s “black boxes,” an invaluable tool in piecing together the final moments of the An-148.
The crash is the latest in a string of deadly incidents, including the fall of a Russian military plane that killed more than 90 people on Christmas 2016 and the deaths of more than 200 passengers after an ISIS-claimed attack on a Russian plane in Egypt in 2015.