The pilot of the last plane to fly out of Palu amid the recent Indonesian earthquakes paid tribute to an air-traffic controller who died after guiding the aircraft to a safe take-off.
Anthonius Gunawan Agung, 21, stayed at his post in the air-traffic control tower at Mutiara SIS Al-Jufrie Airport in Palu when major earthquakes hit Sulawesi Island on September 28, AFP reported.
Agung made sure that Batik Air flight 6231 took off safely before he jumped off the four-story tower as it crumbled. Agung suffered fatal internal injuries and died at a local hospital soon after.
“Batik 6231 runway 33 clear for take-off.” These were allegedly Agung’s last words to the Batik Air pilot.
The pilot expressed his gratitude on the social media app Instagram. @icoze_ricochet wrote “Wing of honor for Anthonius Gunawan Agung as my guardian angel at Palu” on a post.
AirNav Indonesia said in a statement that they will rank Agung up by two levels as a gesture of appreciation for his sacrifice.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation also commended Agung for “heroically giving his life during the earthquakes… we deeply regret his passing.”
The 7.5 magnitude earthquake and the subsequent tsunami wreaked havoc in Palu and other parts of northern Sulawesi. By late Tuesday, the death toll had risen to 1,374, with at least 113 people still missing.
— AirNav Indonesia (@AirNav_Official) September 29, 2018