(CNN Indonesia/YouTube)

21-Year-Old Air Traffic Controller Sacrifices Own Life To See A Plane To Safety During Indonesia Earthquake


Anthonius Gunawan Agung was the true embodiment of a hero.

The air traffic controller for Mutiara SIS Al-Jufri Airport gave his life to ensure that the last commercial flight departed safely before a massive 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit the Indonesian coastal towns of Palu and Donggala on Friday.

Agung would have celebrated his 22nd birthday next month.

The 21-year-old air traffic controller remained on the fourth floor of the tower until the last Batik Air flight was safely airborne when the massive tremor hit the coastal town at 6:00 p.m.

He leapt out of the tower as the roof collapsed and suffered a "broken leg and internal injuries," according to the LA Times.

He did not survive the fall.

Hours later, a helicopter arrived and attempted to airlift him to the nearest hospital, but it was too late.

Didiet K.S. Radityo, corporate secretary of the Indonesian Flight Navigation Service Institution, told the Jakarta Post:

"Agung dedicated himself to his job until the end of his life and did not leave the control tower until the plane took off, even though the earthquake had struck."
"He passed away 20 minutes before the helicopter arrived."

News of his tragic loss and sacrifice for all the passengers aboard that final flight resonated with many people.

Batik Air pilot Ricosetta Mafella considered Agung his "wingman" and "guardian angel."

The captain shared the last transmission he received from the young hero.

Agung had given clearance and granted permission for the captain to take off three minutes earlier than the scheduled flight.

The captain posted a video of an aerial view of the tsunami about to wreak its havoc along the coastal town.

He wrote on Instagram:

"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."

The earthquake triggered a tsunami 30 minutes later, measuring between five and 10 feet high (some reports indicate it was as high as 20 feet), that swept inland through Palu and Donggala, leaving thousands of people homeless.

Aftershocks continued rocking the region on Saturday, leaving thousands of homes, hospitals, hotels, and a shopping center completely destroyed.

BBC News reported Friday that over 305 people were confirmed dead, but the death toll is expected to continue rising.

Rescue efforts are underway as the city of Palu remains without power.

H/T - YouTube, Twitter, BBC, LAtimes, JakartaGlobe

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