Minister Swims 12 Hours to Escape Death after Helicopter Crash

Madagascan minister Serge Gelle, 57 years, is seen resting weary on a deck chair, still dressed in his camouflage suit, in a video uploaded on social media.

“My time to die hasn’t come yet,” the general says, adding that he is cold but unhurt.

Tweet from Ministry of Defense, Madagascar.

Gelle had used one of the helicopter’s seats as a flotation device, according to Zafisambatra Ravoavy, another police general.

“He has always had great stamina in sport, and he’s kept up this rhythm as a minister, just like a thirty-year-old. He has nerves of steel.” he said

After three decades in the police force, Gelle was promoted to minister as part of a government reshuffle in August.

Authorities say the minister was one of two survivors who swam 12 hours to shore after their chopper crashed off the island’s northeastern coast on Tuesday.

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Police and port authorities said they were still looking for two more passengers after the disaster on Monday, the reason of which was not immediately known.

According to port authority chief Jean-Edmond Randrianantenaina, Serge Gelle, the country’s secretary of state for police, and a colleague policeman arrived in the beach town of Mahambo separately on Tuesday morning, reportedly after ejecting themselves from the plane.

On Monday morning, the chopper took him and the others to see the location of a shipwreck off the northeastern shore.

According to the most recent official toll released on Tuesday, at least 21 people have died and approximately 60 have gone missing as a result of the calamity.

Source: AFP

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