Madagascar Minister Survives Helicopter Crash, Swims for 12 Hours After Flying to Shipwreck Site
09:06 GMT 22.12.2021 (Updated: 11:18 GMT 24.11.2022)
The official and his team were searching the area after a deadly boat accident when their aircraft suddenly crashed at sea.
A Madagascar minister managed to survive a helicopter incident during a rescue mission, as he was searching for passengers from the sunken vessel Francia near the northeastern shore of the island. Secretary of State for Police Serge Gelle self-ejected from the aircraft when it crashed into the ocean and swam about 12 hours to shore.
In a video, published on Wednesday, he can be seen exhausted, but without any major injuries, saying "it's not my time to die".
"I would just like you to broadcast this video for my family to see, my colleagues to see, the government members to see. [I am] alive and well", he said.
Gelle, as well as two other police officers, who survived the accident, reached land in the seaside town of Mahambo separately on Tuesday. According to Police Chief Zafisambatra Ravoavy, Gelle used one of the seats as a flotation device.
The crash occurred while the minister was on his way to visit the site of a shipwreck off the coast of Madagascar. The vessel (a cargo ship, which was not allowed to carry passengers) sank on Monday with at least 138 people on board, according to the Maritime and River Port Agency (APMF). The official death toll has risen to 64, while 24 people still remain missing. The search operation is ongoing as some 20 people remain missing.