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Minister ‘swims 12 hours to shore’ after helicopter crash in Madagascar

Minister ‘swims 12 hours to shore’ after helicopter crash in Madagascar
December 21
21:18 2021

Serge Gelle, minister of police in Madagsacar, reportedly swam 12 hours to shore on Tuesday after surviving a helicopter crash off the Island’s north-eastern coast.

The aircraft was carrying four passengers at the time of the crash.

Aside from Gelle, Laitsara Jimmy Andrianarison, a warrant officer, was also found alive on Tuesday, hours after the crash which occurred on Monday evening.

In a video shared on social media, Gelle can be seen lying on a deck chair, still in his camouflage uniform.

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“My time to die hasn’t come yet,” he said, adding he is cold but not injured.

The helicopter was said to have been flying him and the other passengers to inspect the site of a shipwreck on Monday which killed at least 21 people, with about 60 still missing.

The Madagascan defence ministry, in a tweet, said a search is ongoing for the remaining two passengers who were in the helicopter.

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“GDI Serge Gelle, one of the passengers in the helicopter which crashed yesterday, was found safe and sound this morning near Mahambo. The rescuers also found the helicopter carcass at the bottom of the sea,” the ministry wrote.

“The non-commissioned engineer, one of the passengers in the helicopter which crashed last night, was also found unharmed. The search for the pilot and the last passenger is still ongoing.

“This evening, another boat has just been launched to reinforce the search for the castaways and the 2 remaining soldiers, passengers of the helicopter.”

Zafisambatra Ravoavy, a senior police officer, said Gelle used one of the helicopter’s seats as a flotation device.

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“He has always had great stamina in sport, and he’s kept up this rhythm as minister, just like a 30-year-old. He has nerves of steel,” Ravoavy added.

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