Jakarta, Indonesia: An air traffic controller (ATC) has been hailed a hero when he died after trying to escape the powerful quake that hit the city of Palu on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia, on Friday, according to local media.
The Jakarta Post identified the young ATC officer as Anthonius Gunawan Agung, 21, who reportedly stayed behind to make sure a passenger airplane took off as the earth shook below him.
The control tower sustained major damage, according to Indonesian media reports.
In a twitter post, AirNav Indonesia, the air navigation service provider in Indonesia, honoured the fallen air traffic controller.
"He died while running his duties as flight navigation services personnel, Anthonius Gunawan Agung, an Air Traffic Controller (ATC) AirNav Indonesia Branch died on Saturday," the agency stated in a tweet.
The killer earthquake triggered tsunami and killed hundreds in Palu City, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia and killed hundreds.·
At least 384 people have died after the 7.5-magnitude quake rocked the Indonesian island around 5 pm local time on Friday.
Agung died on Saturday in the hospital after he jumped off the traffic control tower at the Palu airport when he thought the tower was collapsing, CNN reported.
Telah wafat saat menjalankan tugasnya sebagai personel layanan navigasi penerbangan, Saudara Anthonius Gunawan Agung, Air Traffic Controller (ATC) AirNav Indonesia Cabang Palu pada Sabtu (29/09).#RIPAgung #DoaUntukSulteng#PrayforDonggala #PrayforPalu pic.twitter.com/6Wpobp3R7m— AirNav Indonesia (@AirNav_Official) September 29, 2018
His colleagues had evacuated the tower when they felt the earthquakes.
A damaged air traffic control tower at the Mutiara Sis Al Jufri Airport in Palu, Central Sulawesi on Friday. The tower was about to collapse as a result of a 7.4-magnitude earthquake that rocked the province. The airport also suffered damages to its navigation system as well as 500 meters of its 2,500-metre-long runway. Courtesy: Kompas.com
But Gunawan stayed behind to ensure that a Batik Air jet safely took off, Air Nav Indonesia, the agency that oversees aircraft navigation, reported.
"We felt a deep heartbreak, may God gives Anthonius the best place beside him, along with other victims of Donggala earthquake," Air Nav spokesperson Yohanes Sirait said.