Air Traffic Controller Dies in Indonesia Earthquake

Indonesia earthquake: Air traffic controller dies after jumping off collapsing tower in Palu.

Indonesia earthquake & tsunami have claimed at least 384 lives since Friday, even as 29 people are missing and 540 are being treated for their injuries. Rescue teams scoured the ravaged city of Palu on Saturday to find the missing.

“Updated numbers of the victims show that 384 people died, 29 are missing and 540 are injured. Donggala is still unreachable because communications are still cut off.

A team has been dispatched to the regency,” National Disaster and Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said at a press briefing on Saturday.

Sutopo said the number was likely to increase because the rescue teams were yet to reach several affected areas.

A string of earthquakes hit the Central Sulawesi region of Donggala on Friday afternoon, which was followed by 0.5 to 3 metre high waves that hit parts of Donggala’s coast and Talise Beach in Palu.

Anthonius Gunawan Agung, 21, the on duty air traffic controller (ATC) at Palu airport, died on Saturday due to the injuries he suffered when he jumped off an ATC tower when a 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit the area.

The Jakarta Post reported that Agung, who worked for Indonesian Flight Navigation Service Institution (AirNav Indonesia), was on the fourth floor of the ATC tower at Mutiara Sis Al Jufri Airport in Palu on Friday afternoon when the earthquake hit.

He had just cleared the lane for the departure of a Batik Air plane and was waiting for the plane to take off when the tremors hit.

Agung remained in the tower until the plane took off, after which he jumped off as the roof had collapsed, said The Jakarta Post report.

In a press statement on Saturday, AirNav Indonesia extended condolences to his family.

According to reports, the C. Sulawesi earthquake sent shocks across Makassar Strait.

A screen capture of a map from the US Geological Survey website shows the location of the earthquake that hit Donggala, Central Sulawesi, on Friday afternoon.

When the 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck Donggala in Central Sulawesi, residents in the neighboring Borneo island too felt the shock. Tremors were felt in Octavianto, East Kalimantan, East Kutai, and Berau regions too.

According to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), the epicenter of the 7.4-magnitude earthquake was located about 27 km north-east of Donggala at a depth of 10 km.

The BMKG said the major earthquake spanned from the Makassar Strait to the northern part of Boni Gulf in western Sulawesi.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has offered condolences to the victims. He called for calm among all people, especially those living in or near the disaster-hit regions. “To remain calm but stay alert as well. We hope this can be done together,” he said on Friday night.

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