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An Indonesian air traffic controller has been hailed a hero after losing his own life while ensuring a passenger plane escaped a deadly earthquake.
Anthonius Gunawan Agung, 21, was at the control tower of Palu airport in central Sulawesi when the 7.5 magnitude quake struck on Friday.
He waited until the plane was airborne before jumping from the crumbling control tower. He died before he could be transferred to a specialist hospital.
“Agung dedicated himself to his job until the end of his life and did not leave the control tower until the plane took off,” Didiet KS Radityo, the corporate secretary for Air Navigation Indonesia, told the Jakarta Post. At least 832 people died in the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, but that figure is expected to rise sharply as more remote areas are reached. In the city of Palu, dozens are also reported to be trapped alive under the rubble of buildings.
Most of the confirmed deaths were in Palu, where rescuers are awaiting heavy machinery to search the ruins of a hotel and a shopping centre.
Authorities say they will begin burying victims in mass graves.
At Palu airport on Friday, Mr Agung was giving clearance to a Batik Air plane to take off when tremors began to strike.
His colleagues who were not handling aircraft evacuated the control tower, but Mr Agung stayed at his post until the plane had safely departed.
It was then that the largest tremor struck and the roof of the four-storey tower collapsed. Mr Agung jumped from a window, breaking his legs, arms and ribs.
He was taken to hospital but died before a helicopter that would have taken him to a specialist clinic arrived.
Yohannes Sirait, spokesman for Air Navigation Indonesia, told news outlet ABC Mr Agung’s decision had potentially saved hundreds of others.
His rank has been posthumously promoted by two levels “as a form of appreciation for his outstanding dedication towards the deceased” said the organisation.
The organisation also showed soldiers carrying his body as it was transported for burial.
The tale of his sacrifice quickly spread online, where he was hailed a hero.
The earthquake occurred just off the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Friday.
Many people were on the beach in Palu, preparing for a festival, and were caught when the tsunami swept in.
Vice-President Jusuf Kalla has said the final death toll could be in the thousands while the Red Cross estimates that more than 1.6 million people have been affected.