Minister Swims for 12 Hours to shore after Chopper Crash

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A minister swam for 12 hours to shore after a chopper he was in crashed in the Indian Ocean.

Serge Gelle of Madagascar was among other passengers when the were involved in the accident off the island’s northeastern coast.

Gelle was among two survivors who swam to the shore Tuesday,  police and port authorities said.

A search was still ongoing for two other passengers after the crash Monday, whose cause was not immediately clear, police and port authorities said.

In a video shared on social media, 57-year-old Gelle appears lying exhausted on a deck chair, still in his camouflage uniform.

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

Gelle became minister as part of a cabinet reshuffle in August after serving in the police for three decades.

The helicopter was flying him and the others to inspect the site of a shipwreck off the northeastern coast on Monday morning.

At least 21 people have died and around 60 gone missing in that disaster, according to the latest official toll on Tuesday.

Zafisambatra Ravoavy, another police general, told AFP that Mr Gelle had used one of the helicopter’s seats 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.”


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