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ATCO dies getting last aircraft out of Sulawesi

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ATCO dies getting last aircraft out of Sulawesi

Old 30th Sep 2018, 02:03
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ATCO dies getting last aircraft out of Sulawesi

"Among the dead was a young Indonesian air traffic controller who stayed at his post when the earthquake hit to ensure that a plane carrying hundreds of passengers took off safely. He jumped from the tower and died before a medical helicopter could reach him."

Part of https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/qu...30-p506wh.html
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Old 30th Sep 2018, 06:56
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Why did he jump and airplanes have been taking off without ATC for 100+ years.
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Old 30th Sep 2018, 07:03
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This has more detail: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...-a8561226.html

"An air traffic controller was hailed a hero after he sacrificed his own life to ensure a passenger plane carrying dozens of people safely took off during an earthquake in Indonesia.
As his colleagues fled the Mutiara SIS Al-Jufrie airport, near Palu, in Central Sulawesi, 21-year-old Anthonius Gunawan Agung held his ground as the 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck.
He had just cleared Batik Air flight 6231 for takeoff as the ground started to shake, but instead of running for safety he waited until the plane was airborne before finally leaving the air traffic control tower.

Trapped as he attempted to flee, Mr Agung was forced to jump from the fourth storey of the tower as the tremors grew stronger.
He suffered a broken leg and internal injuries and although he was taken to hospital, he died while waiting for a helicopter to take him to a different hospital for specialist care.
Air Navigation Indonesia spokesman Yohannes Sirait said Mr Agung’ decision to stay behind cost him his life, but he may have saved everyone on board the plane as the city was later ravaged by a tsunami.
Mr Agung, who would have turned 22 on 24 October, had his rank increased by two levels in recognition of his “extraordinary dedication”.

Soldiers carried his body as it was transported for burial."

Still not entirely plausible as an explanation, the poor chap may have been simply the last one out of the tower as the earthquake hit.
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Old 30th Sep 2018, 16:54
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The account seems somewhat dramatic, agreed. However, if the "broken leg" involved the femoral artery and "internal injuries" involved unspecified vital organs, then it's not hard to understand that he expired without immediate care.

Having lived in earthquake prone areas for many years, I will acknowledge they are the most sudden and sinister of all natural disasters. Why he felt the need to "jump," if true, is something I don't quite understand. May the good man rest in peace, in any case.
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Old 30th Sep 2018, 20:39
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Why he felt the need to "jump"
So, what happened to the tower?
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Old 30th Sep 2018, 21:26
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Unhappy From Yesterday's DAILY MAIL

Remnants of control tower at Mutiara SIS Al-Jufrie Airport in Palu on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi:

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Old 1st Oct 2018, 01:00
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The earthquake and/or collapse may have tossed him out. But if it looked like the ceiling was about to come down on his head, he may have decided to jump.
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 04:17
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My guess: In some cultures, responsibility is Job #1; saving your life is Job #2. He may have felt it more important to make sure the plane made it safely off the buckling runway. If not, he could call emergency services, either at the airport itself or from whatever was left of the town. Once the plane was airborne, Job #1 became saving his ***, but it didn't work out that way.
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 06:29
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Why the rush to depart on what turned out to be a damaged runway?
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 07:01
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I doubt they could feel the earth shaking beneath the plane.
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 07:27
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Originally Posted by RogueRivered View Post
I doubt they could feel the earth shaking beneath the plane.
Strong earthquakes can be 'felt' in an aircraft, just lookup 2011 Japan earthquake of aircraft sitting at Haneda, or even buses / trucks on the road - although they are 100's km from the epicenter, they visibly shook. If memory servers me right, an M7+ and extremely shallow as this one at 10km can cause peak ground acceleration in region of 3g.
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 14:48
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In some cultures, a high “work ethic” can be the greatest honour.

In some other cultures, having money or fame is the greatest honour.

I think Homer Simpson put it best when his daughter Lisa suggested he go on strike. His response was something like “This is America, Lisa. If we don’t like our job, we don’t go on strike! We just keep going to work, every day, doing a really half-arsed job. That’s the American Way.”

I’m sorry if it’s inappropriate to inject that into a thread about a tragedy, I didn’t do it for comedic purposes. The West can still learn a lot from Eastern values of honour.
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 15:07
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My guess: In some cultures, responsibility is Job #1
Definitely, the case .......

I was a skipper on a twin engined widebody, working for a big Far Eastern based airline, climbing out of a large airport in the Far East (airborne 20 minutes) when the left engine decided to stop in a very spectacular fashion - with hundreds of screaming pax (including CP and cabin crew) in my ear I calmed the CP (of 25+ years experience) and briefed her in the usual fashion - I was then asked, "should we finish the service?"
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 16:37
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Originally Posted by TangoAlphad View Post
Wether it was logical or not he felt remaining at post assisted in getting that aircraft out putting their safety before his and sitting at home on your sofa saying it wasn't required... Maybe not but in that moment he thought it was and paid the price in trying to save others. That is what is important.
I think this is the best resume of the situation as we know it here . We are still waiting for facts.details from our Indonesian colleagues. But looking at the photo of what remains of the TWR one can maybe understand the need to jump out..
As to the culture , caring about the job first . yes definitively.
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 16:46
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It's interesting to see people view his actions as some kind of cultural curiosity. People are not that different from one another. The firefighters who responded to Chernobyl knew what they risking. The firefighters who responded to the WTC knew the dangers of entering the towers. There are stories of people, logically or illogically, rightly or wrongly, taking risks to put others first. It's not a cultural or racial thing it's a human thing.

No one knows what was going through his mind, he may have just made an error of judgement. I so often read in these forums comments that suggest Asians think markedly differently to those in the west. There are some differences no doubt, but they are not as great as some people here think they are.
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 17:13
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The last few posts (Tango, ATC W, and Bud) are what make sites like PPRuNe worthwhile and restores my faith in people (and the internet...).

In stark contrast to B2N2’s post at the start of this thread, which is, in my view, inappropriate.


Last edited by Sam Asama; 4th Oct 2018 at 18:56.
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 18:54
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There is no "fall on your sword" culture in Indonesia.
Some people are very conscientious. Others less so.

He was a young guy, it may have been as simple as having once been told that he wasn't to take his eyes off the aircraft until it was airborne.
Who knows?

Never-the-less, sad day for all.
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Old 1st Oct 2018, 19:19
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I would echo WingNut60's comments. Indonesia is a very large, very complex and diverse country. As is true with most places on earth, people's values, and reasons for doing something or not doing something, are individual. Regardless of that, this was surely a horrific few moments for this young man -- and so many others. A sad day indeed.

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Old 2nd Oct 2018, 09:59
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There is something unhealthy in the hero-making of this young man that reminds me of the Thailand Cave Rescue a few months back where a man died and was proclaimed a hero and plastered over the news. Well in that case the man ran out of air whilst changing gas tanks, a basic error that does not become an operative on an advanced rescue operation.
If we are to learn anything we must learn how to be intelligent and make the correct decision in the face of danger.
In this case, why did the Captain continue with the takeoff during an earthquake ?
Isn't this extra-procedular, and totally the Captain's responsibility ?
If all his colleagues left doesn't that indicate the end of their responsibility ?
What good does it do to watch an aircraft taking off whilst the building falls apart ?
Perhaps he could have said to himself : I have given him clearance, the captain knows it's an earthquake, okay good luck to them, now I will leave. Isn't that the best course ?
The newspapers have a motto, "if it bleeds then it leads", that is how they choose the first article on the paper, and the second article is any kind of heroic deed.
And the airlines make their Public Relations strategy out of any event.
In all this, does anyone really think about the deceased ?
Or about learning the real lesson and becoming competent in real situations, rather than in a movie where jumping from windows works out ?
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Old 2nd Oct 2018, 22:53
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Yes indeed the young man (whose name was Anthonius Gunawan Agung) was a licenced air traffic controller working for Air Nav Indonesia. BBC article refers: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-45702619

There is more information also available via the Jakarta Post.

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