Paul Apel had an uncommon bond with the ill-fated Dana Air flight that crashed into a two-storey building at Iju-Ishaga, Lagos on Sunday.
Apel, a Benue State indigene, works part-time with the China Central Television (CCTV) in Nigeria. He missed the flight by whiskers and yesterday had the luck of recording the accident for teeming China.
Speaking with our correspondent yesterday, Apel, who owns a film content development firm, Papel Image, in Abuja, said he was scheduled to be in Lagos enroute Cote d’Ivoire, where he was to record for CCTV on Sunday.
He said: “Suddenly, I got a call from the office that I should report to edit one of my works, which one of my assistants could not do. After I finished, I chartered a cab to take me to the airport. But somewhere along the way, my cab was blocked by another cab. I got into the airport and saw the plane as it was taxing out of the runway to take-off.
“Another passenger had a hard time convincing me to go with another plane. When I landed in Lagos about 9pm, I received the greatest shocking news of my life that the plane I was struggling to board had crashed. I took a hard look at myself and burst into tears, realising I could have been dead. Even the next morning as I was dressing up in my hotel room, I looked at the mirror, it occurred to me that I could have died. The man who delayed me in the office was crying when he called me in the morning and told me he heard the plane had crashed. The colleague I was coming to meet in Lagos for the trip could not believe I escaped the crash; my in-law could not believe I escaped. They were crying for joy. Now, we couldn’t even proceed to Cote d‘Ivoire as we had to be drafted to report this crash. That irony hit me hard. I could have been history, but today I’m alive to document the history of others. That is life.”