“He sacrificed his life in order to save the lives of many. This is what you call a hero.”

“A hero. He’s an Air Traffic Control officer at the airport in Palu. When earthquake shook he had to make sure Batik Air could take off safely into the air. But he didn’t have time to save himself from the tower where he did work, collapse to the ground.”

“A heroic act. Safe flight to Heaven, Agung. Rest In Peace.”

The tweets tell only part of the story.

Anthonius Gunawan Agung was an air traffic controller at the Palu airport in the capital city of the province of Central Sulawesi in Indonesia.

When the earthquake and tsunami struck Indonesia on the 28th of September the devastation was widespread and immediate. The control tower started to shake forcing people to flee the crumbling structure. Everyone accept Agung that is. He stayed so that he could direct the plane and insure that the plane was airborne.

His last words were “Batik 6321 clear for take off”.

It is reported that Agung jumped from the top of the crumbling four-story control-tower. He died later after being transported to an area 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.

“He is our national hero,” says Batik Airways pilot Ricosetta Mafella.



Indonesia’s disaster agency says the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami is now approaching two thousand people, with more than five thousand missing.

The Next Leap Forward

Agung had to make that split-second decision on whether to stay and guide the plane full of passengers off; placing his own life in jeopardy, OR leave with the others to find safe-haven.

It’s a decision that will impact his life in a profound way.

I call this an ‘adrenaline moment’.

It’s that moment when it’s all on the line and you must make a choice, quickly. You realize that the decision you’re about to make could have dire consequences for yourself, but also that this decision will have major implications for others.

When your adrenaline is running high, a hormone secreted by your adrenal glands is released, especially in conditions of stress, increasing rates of blood circulation, breathing, and carbohydrate metabolism — take over your body.

There are examples of specific professions where that ‘adrenaline moment’ becomes key to helping others and even your own survival in some cases. Firefighters, police officers, soldiers on the battlefield, come to mind. But let’s not forget doctors, health care professionals, and athletes; who all tap into that ‘adrenaline moment’ when it’s all on the line.

When that ‘adrenaline moment’ hit Agung, his true colors were on full-display. His heart and passion for others took over.

Critical events or unusual circumstances can trigger an ‘adrenaline moment’ in your own life.

Are you prepared to make that moment count?