He­roes of the havoc

Tsunami saviours risked their lives to res­cue oth­ers

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS -

TALES of hero­ism and devastation be­gan to emerge last night in the aftermath of the earthquake and 3m-high tsunami that slammed into the In­done­sian Is­land of Su­lawesi.

As the death toll soared to­ward 400 in the city of Palu alone, it emerged that many vic­tims had been tak­ing part in a beach fes­ti­val cel­e­brat­ing the city’s an­niver­sary.

Su­topo Purwo Nu­groho, spokesman for Indonesia’s disaster mit­i­ga­tion agency, said: “When the tsunami

threat arose yes­ter­day peo­ple were still do­ing their ac­tiv­i­ties on the beach and did not im­me­di­ately run and they be­came vic­tims. The tsunami didn’t come by it­self, it dragged cars, logs, houses, it hit ev­ery­thing on land.”

As the tsunami struck at a speed of 800km/h, some peo­ple climbed high into the tree­tops and sur­vived, he said. Among the he­roes of the disaster was 21-yearold air traf­fic con­troller

An­tho­nius Gu­nawan Agung, who stayed in the con­trol tower to make sure a pas­sen­ger jet took off safely.

Af­ter see­ing the plane into the air he jumped from the tower when he thought it was col­laps­ing. He died later in hos­pi­tal from his in­juries.

Air­port spokesman Yo­hanes Si­rait said his col­leagues had evac­u­ated the build­ing when they felt the earth­quakes, but he stayed.

“We felt a deep heart­break, may God give An­tho­nius the best place be­side him, along ong with other vic­tims of Dong­gaong­gala earthquake,” ake,” Mr Si­rait said.

As strong ong af­ter­shocks con­tin­ued to t rock k the th area, of­fi­cials said “ex­ten­sive dam­age” had dev­as­tated houses, hos­pi­tals, shop­ping malls and ho­tels in the city of 380,000.

Pic­tures from the devastation zone showed bod­ies lin­ing the streets, cov­ered with sheets, blan­kets and what­ever else came to hand. Last night more than 500 peo­ple were noted as be­ing in­jured, but that num­ber is ex­pected to rise sharply.

Mr Nu­groho said a bridge had washed away and the main high­way had been cut due to a land­slide, while elec­tric­ity and com­mu­ni­ca­tions were com­pletely out.

There were also fears for the nearby towns of Dong­gala and Ma­muju, which res­cuers had not been able to reach by last night.

Dr Ko­mang Adi Su­jen­dra,

from f the th lo­cal l l hos­pi­tal, is­sued an ur­gent ap­peal for help on Twit­ter. “At the mo­ment, in our hos­pi­tal, elec­tric­ity is out all over Palu, roads are cracked, the phone net­work doesn’t work,” he said. “We are hop­ing for any help. We need tents, medicine, can­vas, nurses …”

In­done­sian Pres­i­dent Joko Wi­dodo said the mil­i­tary was be­ing called in to the dis­as­ter­struck re­gion to help searc­hand-res­cue teams get to vic­tims and find bod­ies.

On his of­fi­cial Twit­ter ac­count, Mr Wi­dodo said he was mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion and pre­par­ing for any postearthquake emer­gen­cies.

“May our brothers and sis­ters re­main calm and be safe,” he wrote.

Res­i­dents carry a vic­tim from hiscar af­ter the tsunami hit Palu. Pic­ture:AFP

Dam­age caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Palu.

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