‘We could’ve been on that plane!’ Last minute ticket change saves 2 girls’ lives

A last minute ticket change bought one lucky young lady and her friend their lives: They avoided boarding the 7K9268 flight heading to St. Petersburg from Sharm El-Sheikh. The doomed Airbus A321 crashed in Sinai mere minutes after take-off, claiming 224 lives.

LIVE UPDATES: Russian passenger jet crash over Sinai: Aftermath, reactions

A resident of Petrozavodsk, Ekaterina Gyunninen, managed to thwart fate with her last-minute decision not to fly on board Kogalymavia flight 7K9268 that went down in northern Sinai on Saturday.

“I do not know, I do not know what would happen if I took that flight. What would happen to my mom, my dad, sister, brother. It is very grievous,” she told RT.

Gyunninen explained to RT that her lucky escape was the result of a “pure financial incentive”. She and her friend opted to change flights, as tickets to Moscow were €170 ($188) cheaper than to St. Petersburg.

Discovering that the Kogalymavia (Metrojet) flight 7K9268 crashed in Sinai around 23 minutes after takeoff on Saturday, killing everyone on board, Gyunninen explained that she immediately called her mother to say that she was “okay.”

“My mother called back 15 minutes later. It was the most touching moment for me because my mother, who lives thousands of kilometers away from me, said through tears: 'Thanks God you are alive,'” she said.

That was the moment that Gyunninen said the “realization” of the tragedy hit: “We could have been on that plane, we could have died!”

After a 10-hour delay, the girls’ plane departed for Moscow, with everyone on board already aware of the fateful crash hours earlier that killed 224 people including 25 children.

“When we were flying back it was dead silent on board,” she recalled. “Everyone was alert, startled by any noise or jolt.”

The young survivor says that the crew was “very supportive”, offering immediate assistance.

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As for her, Gyunninen said “I have promised myself [I will] go to church and certainly light a candle in commemoration of those who had not reached home.”

“I am very sorry. It is a big tragedy. I light a candle for the health of the victims' relatives because losing family, especially children, nephews, grandchildren, is very grievous,” she concluded.