Inside How 15 People Narrowly Missed Boarding Crashed AirAsia Flight

Missed emails, calls, and hepatitis prevent would-be passengers—seven of whom are children— from boarding the 162-passenger flight that crashed in the Java Sea

Debris believed to be from the jetliner is found (Getty Images)

A bittersweet New Year’s for 15 people who were scheduled to board the AirAsia flight that crashed in the Java Sea, but due to a variety of reasons, missed their flight.

 Inge Goreti Ferdiningsih’s father caught hepatitis shortly before the flight took off, causing her family to cancel their trip to Singapore.

“We are extremely grateful, and God is really great,” she told CNN. “I believe that God is saving and protecting us, and this is truly a miracle.”

Ferdiningsih and her three children—10, 7, and 5— were scheduled for their vacation to Singapore when she received a call from her sister that her father was complaining of stomach pains—symptoms that ended up being hepatitis.

“I had this feeling in my heart that I wanted to be with my dad,” she added, deciding to call of the trip to be by her father’s side.

CNN also reports on how missed phone messages saved another family from tragedy.

An aversion to phone messages may have spared another family. Christianawati was going to ring in the New Year in Singapore with her family and her brother’s family, she told a French news agency. Ten were traveling in all. But her brother forgot to check messages from AirAsia telling them that the flight was leaving two hours before the original departure time.

“They emailed and called us on December 15 and 16 to inform us, but we missed those calls,” Christianawati, who goes by one name, told Agence France-Presse.

“So we arrived at the airport to check in for the 7:30 a.m. flight but were told our flights had been rescheduled to 5:30 a.m., and we were late. Of course we were angry,” she said. Some family members pulled up in their car just in time to see the last passengers whisk past them into the boarding lounge, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. But Christianawati’s family was traveling in two cars, and one was lagging behind. They just missed the flight. Then they heard the news.

“Maybe it is all God’s plan that my family and I were not on the flight,” Christianawati said. “It was a blessing in disguise.”

The first two victims of the crash were brought back in coffins to Surabaya, Indonesia on Wednesday morning. They were reportedly a woman and a child. Investigations are still underway as to the cause of the plane crash.