Rafael Rebello was still shaking Tuesday, hours after finding out that the plane he had planned to board was the doomed Germanwings flight 4U9525.
The lucky Brazilian, who lives in Barcelona, Spain, was due in Germany for a business meeting but changed his flight at the last minute because he waited too long to purchase his ticket and the price had gone up, Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported.
Rebello, who is an export manager at a tea company, learned of the accident when a client who knew he had planned the trip to Germany called him on the phone.
"He said he wanted to know if I was alive. I didn't understand a thing, until he told me about the accident," he told O Globo. "I started shaking. I am still kind of shaking," he said.
Just a few hours earlier, the tea trader had called his German client and requested to move the meeting to a later date. The client agreed to the postponement.
“You saved my life,” Rebello told him later in an email.
Rebello said he was ready to make the trip but then decided it was too rushed.
"That was the only flight option and it was all confirmed, but when I went back on the Internet to buy the ticket, the price had gone up and, also, I realized that I would be rushing to be on time for the meeting,” he said, “so I decided to change the date and go with another company."
To top it off, Tuesday was his mother’s birthday and she was Barcelona visiting him.
Her thoughts on the last-minute itinerary change: “It was a great gift.”
The crash in the French Alps of the Germanwings flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf took the lives of 150 people. According to the Associated Press, 72 of the victims were German citizens and 35 were Spaniards. The U.S., Colombia, Argentina and Mexico have confirmed that two citizens from each country were aboard.