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Lucky nine who did not board

india Updated: May 23, 2010 00:30 IST

For some, not boarding the Air India Express flight from Dubai to Mangalore proved to be a boon.

The Air India Express Boeing plane overshot the touchdown point during landing at the Bajpe airport in Mangalore, crashed down a cliff and burst into flames. There were eight survivors.

Nine persons, who either missed or decided not to take the flight are Merwyn D'Souza, Vasant Shetty, Thresiamma Philip, Mohammed Ashfaq, Husna Farheen, Sanjeeva Babanna Hegde, Louiscarlo Vincent Geraro, Steveni Rego and Kunhikannan Chandu.

Though 175 people were supposed to travel on the aircraft, it had finally taken off in Dubai with 166 passengers and crewmembers on board.

Of the nine who did not board the aircraft, at least two are thanking their seniors for the extra workload that forced them to miss the ill-fated Air India Express flight to Mangalore, which crashed on Saturday killing around 160 people.

Dubai resident Kunhikannan Chandu, manager of the well-known Lulu Hypermarket in Al Qusais, was supposed to go to Mangalore to help his son get admission in an engineering college.

But his manager asked him to postpone the trip due to urgent work commitments.

“I had booked my ticket to fly to Mangalore on Saturday morning. I was going to help my son with his admission to engineering college.

"However, I was told by my manager that I could not go because there was too much important work to get through. I postponed my flight to Saturday evening and then I woke up to this terrible news,” a local newspaper quoted 51-year-old Chandu as saying.

“God has blessed me and my family; he intervened to save my life. I feel really shaken but I told my general manager this morning that he had saved my life.”

Vasant Shetty, another Dubai-based worker, also shares similar feelings. Shetty too missed the flight due to extra workload.

"It's all God's grace. I missed the flight and survived", Shetty, booked to travel on the Air India Express, said.

"My friend had booked the ticket for me. But due to heavy workload I could not take the flight. Upon learning about the crash, I was shocked. I thank God for saving me," Shetty said.

"I don't know what to say about the ill-fated passengers who were killed. I pray for them," he said.