The pilot whose passenger plane managed to escape the devastation has called him his guardian angel and his wing man.
Anthonius Gunawan Agung, 21, was on duty at an airport near the city of Palu when a 7.5 magnitude quake hit Indonesia’s Sulawesi island on Friday.
‘Batik 6231 runway 33 clear for take off’. This was his last transmission to me then we replied. Thank you for keeping me and guarding me till I’m safely airborne. Then he jumped out of tower broke his leg and arm. Wing of honor for Anthonius Gunawan Agung as my guardian angel at Palu. Rest peacefully my wing man. God be with you.
A post shared by Icoze Ezoci (@icoze_ricochet) on Sep 28, 2018 at 942pm PDT
Despite the powerful tremor, which triggered a tsunami that claimed hundreds of lives, he refused to leave the 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.
The pilot said Agung’s last words to him were Batik 6231 runway 33 clear for take off.
The 21-year-old jumped from the four-storey tower as it began to collapse, causing him to break bones and suffer serious internal injuries.
Agung was taken to hospital but later died, just before a helicopter was due to arrive to take him for further treatment.
The pilot of the jet said the tower collapsed just after he got take-off clearance, and that he felt something wrong as the plane sped down the runway.
Icoze Ezoci 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.
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 this video just after airborne on 1500ft climbing. Strange wave-Tsunami.
A post shared by Icoze Ezoci (@icoze_ricochet) on Sep 28, 2018 at 938am PDT
He later put up a photo of the heroic air traffic controller, writing Thank you for keeping me and guarding me till I’m safely airborne… Wing of honor for Anthonius Gunawan Agung as my guardian angel at Palu. Rest peacefully my wing man. God be with you.
Indonesia’s air traffic control company posted photos of Agung’s body being saluted by lines of what appear to be soldiers, along with the hashtag #RIPAgung.
There are fears thousands may have been killed by the earthquake and tsunami, which brought waves as high as six metres (20ft).
News Source SkyNews