Pilot’s pay tribute to ‘wing man’ air controller who died after helping jet escape Indonesia quake

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Pilots in Indonesia will pay tribute to an air traffic controller, Anthonius Gunawan Agung, who stayed in his tower to guide a jet into the air as a huge earthquake hit, but died after jumping for his life as the building began to collapse.

 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.

“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.

Sirait noted that the deceased jumped from the four-storey tower as it began to collapse, causing him to break bones and suffer serious internal injuries. He was was taken to hospital but later died, just before a helicopter was due to arrive to take him for further treatment.

The pilot whose passenger plane managed to escape the devastation has called him his “guardian angel and his “wing man”.