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Madagascar minister swims for 12 hours to reach shore after helicopter crashes into sea

Serge Gelle, a Minister from Madagascar who swam for 12 hours to safely reach the shore, following a chopper crash (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@NationAfrica)

Beating all odds, a Minister from Madagascar swam for 12 hours to reach safely following a helicopter crash. Ironically, Serge Gelle, the country’s Secretary of State for Police, along with others was travelling to inspect the site of shipwreck off the north-east coast.

Gelle along with another survivor, a fellow police officer reached land in Mahambo, a seaside town, separately, after they had ejected themselves from the chopper, according to Jean-Edmond Randrianantenaina, Port Authority Chief.

The video clipping which has gone viral on social media shows the 57-year-old Minister on a deck chair exhausted, wearing his camouflage uniform. He said, “My time to die hasn’t come yet,” adding that he is cold but not injured.

Police chief Zafisambatra Ravoavy informed the media that at least 39 people had died in the disaster, an increase from an earlier toll after rescue workers retrieved 18 more bodies.

Ravoavy told AFP that Gelle had used one of the helicopter’s seats as a flotation device. Stating that the Minister “has nerve of steel”, he added: “He has always had great stamina in sport, and he’s kept up this rhythm as minister, just like a 30-year-old.”

It was in August that Gelle had become a Minister as part of a cabinet reshuffle after serving in the police for three decades.

The search for two other passengers was continuing following the crash which took place on Monday, the cause of which is not yet ascertained, the port and police authorities informed.