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March 10, 2014

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Diary change saves journalist from ill-fated flight

A Chinese journalist is thanking his newspaper for a schedule change that meant he was not on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.

Xu Jin, who works for Yangtze Evening News, was on a business trip to Malaysia and had been due to fly to Beijing for an interview. However, a week before he left for Malaysia the  visit was canceled.

Instead of returning on the MH370 flight, Xu took a China Southern Airlines flight on Saturday afternoon to the southern city of Guangzhou and then transferred to Nanjing, capital of east China’s Jiangsu Province.

“It was just the newspaper’s arrangements that saved me,” Xu wrote on

Later he added: “I have arrived at home safely. My pregnant wife was waiting for me at Nanjing airport, where the temperature was just 4 degrees Celsius. I don’t know how long she had been waiting.

“At home, the parents of two families and two pet dogs were anxiously awaiting my return,” he wrote.

Xu said he was awoken about 8am on Saturday by a phone call from a colleague.

“She said: ‘It was so great that you picked up the phone,’” Xu wrote.

It was then he realized how close to death he had come and that he was a survivor.

Xu went to Kuala Lumpur International Airport about 10am, but found that the news had not yet spread.

None of the staff or passengers seemed to know what had happened, he said.

The shock of the news almost left Xu speechless, he said.

“When I was interviewing people at the airport, my English ability seemed to regress to primary school level. I couldn’t remember even simple words.

“My hands wouldn’t stop shaking. Even though I was wearing a padded jacket and it was 30 degrees, I felt really cold,” he wrote.

He said it was hard to stay calm when he knew so many lives had been lost.

Xu said he was reminded of how he felt during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which claimed more than 80,000 lives.

His mother was in the earthquake zone when it happened.

“We lost contact for more than 10 hours, but finally I heard her voice. I’m so lucky I didn’t lose her,” Xu wrote.


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