The 29-strong football team, from Sweden (pictured above), was planning to fly from Barcelona to Stockholm via Dusseldorf, but opted for other flights because of the long waits in store in the German city.
You feel empty, you don’t have anything to say, it’s a big tragedy
Members split up into three groups, flying to the Swedish capital from Munich and Zurich. The Dusseldorf-bound flight they had expected to travel on together came down in the Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 people on board.
Adil Kizil, 31, sports director of third division Dalkurd FF, told Channel 4 News: “It’s quite a miracle we are still here. It’s a strange feeling – all four planes were over the Alps and we were in three of them.
‘We have the gods with us’
“Imagine if I had booked the group on the one flight, I would have been responsible. The squad are calm, but were shocked at the beginning. They understand it was a big thing and said ‘I think we have the gods with us’.”
Mr Kizil, who travelled back to Sweden with 16 other members of the club, said he only realised that tragedy had struck when they were boarding the plane at Munich.
“When we arrived there we had 40 minutes to get the plane, so were in a hurry. Our phones were still on flight mode, so no-one could call us. The only guy who put his phone on was the coach, who did this in the tunnel on the way to the plane.
“It was all beep beep and messages, people calling from Sweden, who didn’t know whether we were flying from Dusseldorf or Munich. They had seen the news on the TV and in newspapers, thought it was us and tried to reach us. You feel empty, you don’t have anything to say, it’s a big tragedy.”
Dalkurd FF were in Barcelona for a week of training before the start of their season in April. The club was started in 2004 by people of Kurdish descent from Turkey and is now made up of 13 nationalities, all of them Swedish residents.