Madagascar: Minister 'swims for 12 hours' after helicopter crashes at sea

A Madagascan authorities minister has stated he swam for 12 hours to security after his helicopter crashed at sea throughout a rescue mission.

"It's not my time to die," exhausted Police Minister Serge Gelle stated as he recovered on a stretcher.

Two different safety officers travelling with him within the helicopter additionally survived the crash.

The crew had been scouting an space within the north-eastern a part of the nation the place a passenger boat had sunk.

Not less than 39 folks died in that accident, officers stated on Tuesday.

On Twitter President Andry Rajoelina mourned those that died and in addition paid tribute to Mr Gelle and the opposite two officers, who arrived within the seaside city of Mahambo individually.

C’est avec une profonde tristesse que j’ai appris le naufrage d’un navire au giant d’Antsiraka et son horrible bilan. Mes pensées vont aux victimes et à leurs proches endeuillés.

Je prie solennellement pour le repos de leurs âmes.

It's unclear why Monday's accident occurred however Mr Gelle, 57, stated after the crash he swam from "7:30 final night time, till 7:30 this morning," to Mahambo.

He stated he had no accidents however added that he was feeling chilly.

"I’d similar to you to broadcast this video for my household to see, my colleagues to see, the federal government members to see. [I am] alive and nicely," Mr Gelle advised villagers at Mahambo.

Police chief Zafisambatra Ravoavy advised information company AFP that Mr Gelle had used one of many helicopter's seats as a flotation system.

"He has at all times had nice stamina in sport, and he's saved up this rhythm as minister, similar to a 30-year-old… he has nerves of metal," Mr Ravoavy stated.

Mr Gelle had served within the police for 3 many years earlier than his August appointment as minister.

Madagascar nation profile

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