Amazing feat! Madagascar Minister swims for 12 hours to reach shore after helicopter crash

WION Web Team
Antananarivo, Madagascar Published: Dec 22, 2021, 12:56 PM(IST)

Police and port authorities said they were still searching for two other passengers after the crash Monday. The cause of the crash wasn't immediately known. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Apparently, after ejecting themselves from the aircraft, both Serge Gelle, the country's state secretary for police, and a fellow policeman reached land in the seaside town of Mahambo separately on Tuesday morning

A Madagascar minister was one of two survivors of a helicopter crash off Madagascar's northeastern coast Tuesday who then swam for almost 12 hours to shore, authorities said.

Police and port authorities said they were still searching for two other passengers after the crash Monday. The cause of the crash wasn't immediately known.

Also read | Coronavirus findings: Omicron no less severe than Delta, Covid impacts sperm count

Apparently, after ejecting themselves from the aircraft, both Serge Gelle, the country's state secretary for police, and a fellow policeman reached land in the seaside town of Mahambo separately on Tuesday morning, port authority chief Jean-Edmond Randrianantenaina said.

In a video post on social media, the 57-year-old Gelle can be seen still wearing his camouflage uniform, lying exhausted on a deck chair.

"My time to die hasn't come yet," says the general, adding he is cold but not injured.

×

He and the others were flying in a helicopter to inspect a shipwreck off the northeastern coast on Monday morning. 

Adding 18 more bodies to the previous toll, police chief Zafisambatra Ravoavy announced Tuesday that 39 people died in the disaster.

Also read | 17 dead, 68 missing after cargo ship sinks off Madagascar’s northeastern coast

In an earlier statement, Ravoavy told news agency AFP that Gelle had used a seat of the helicopter as a flotation device.

"He has always had great stamina in sport, and he's kept up this rhythm as minister, just like a thirty-year-old," he said.

"He has nerves of steel."

Watch | Gravitas: "Swam for 12 hours" : How This Minister survived a chopper crash

After serving in the police for more than 30 years, Gella became a minister as a result of a cabinet reshuffle in August.

(With inputs from agencies)

Read in App