Heroic Indonesian Air Traffic Controller dies so flight can take off safely
An air traffic controller has been hailed as a hero after he sacrificed his own life to ensure a plane carrying dozens of people safely took off during an earthquake in Indonesia.
21-year-old Anthonius Gunawan Agung was on duty at an airport near the city of Palu when a 7.5 magnitude quake hit Indonesia’s Sulawesi island on Friday.
Despite the powerful tremors, which caused a tsunami, he didn’t leave his tower.
“When the quake happened, he was giving clearance to Batik Air to take off and waited for the plane to be safely airborne before finally leaving the ATC cabin tower,” said Yohanes Harry Sirait, a spokesman for Indonesia’s air traffic control service.
Agung was forced to jump from the top of the crumbling four-story tower in a bid to escape, breaking his leg and suffering serious internal injuries.
He was taken to hospital, where he later died from his injuries. His body was carried by soldiers as he was transported for burial.
The pilot of the jet said the tower collapsed just after he got take-off clearance…
and he posted a video from the cockpit on Instagram, which he said shows the tsunami waves hitting the island. He said if it were 30 seconds later he and his passengers would not have got airborne.
Agung’s actions were praised by a spokesman for Air Navigation Indonesia, who said that his decision to stay and give clearance to the flight potentially saved hundreds of lives.
(Pilot) icoze ricochet – commentary:
Batik Air ID 6231 scheduled to depart at 17.55, door closed at 17.52 then pushed back. 18.02 after cleared for take off, tower building collapsed. We were just rolling on the runway. I felt something wrong on the runway during take off roll. 18.02 earthquake 7.4-7.7 magnitude on scale rocks Palu. Thank God there is a voice (Holy Spirit i believe) telling me to depart early. I’m rushing the boarding process. Late by 30 second i would not have flown. Thank You Jesus. I took a video just after airborne on 1500ft climbing. Strange wave-Tsunami.
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