After changing his plans to fly on both Malaysia Airlines passenger planes MH17 and MH370, involved in tragic incidents over the past four months, Maarten de Jonge has managed to escape death twice, according to The Independent.
The Dutch cyclist has to travel around the world to compete for Malaysia’s Terengganu cycling team and was due to travel on flight MH17, the jet that was shot down over Ukraine on July 17, killing all of the 298 passengers on board.
Speaking to the Dutch public broadcaster RTV Oost, the 29-year-old said that he decided to switch flights last minute after discovering that travelling via Frankfurt was proving cheaper on that particular day.
Furthermore, De Jonge was also due to fly on the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which vanished on March 8 and remains missing.
The cyclist was headed to compete in Taiwan. However, an hour earlier he decided to take a different flight that did not include a stopover in Beijing, he revealed in his interview with the local broadcaster.
“I could have taken that one just as easily,” De Jonge said. “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.
“What has happened is terrible, so many victims, that's a horrible thing,” he said. “I have my story and I would like to leave it at that... my story is ultimately nothing compared to the misery so many people have suffered.”
However, De Jonge has said that he will not allow what has happened to put him off flying and is due to fly Malaysia Airlines when he leaves the Netherlands today, according to The Independent.
“You should try not to worry too much because then you won't get anywhere,” he told RTV Oost. “I have been lucky twice, this will be the third time as well.”