A Madagascar minister survived a helicopter crash over the sea and was able to swim for 12 hours straight to reach safety.
The authorities announced that the minister, Serge Gilly, and another person managed to survive after the helicopter they were traveling in crashed off the northeastern coast of the island, during a mission to search for survivors of a boat accident.
The country’s authorities also said that the search is continuing for two other passengers who were on the plane, after the accident that occurred last Monday.
Ports Authority chief Jean Edmond said Serge Guelleh, the state police minister, and another police officer made landfall, near the coastal town of Mahambo separately, on Tuesday morning, after they ejected from the plane.
A video clip of the 57-year-old minister, still wearing his military uniform, and lying on his back, went viral.
♦ ️GDI Serge GELLE, one of the passengers in the helicopter which crashed yesterday, was found safe and sound this morning near Mahambo.
☑️ The rescuers of the # 4 ° UPC also found the helicopter wreck at the bottom of the sea. pic.twitter.com/sP2abwTMwB
– Ministry of National Defense Madagascar (@MDN_Madagascar) December 21, 2021
“The time for my death has not yet come,” Gilly said, adding that he feels cold, but is not infected.
The helicopter was flying with him with other officers to inspect the site of a shipwreck off the northeastern coast of Madagascar, on Monday morning.
“He used one of the helicopter seats as a flotation device, and he’s as fit as a 30-year-old with nerves of steel,” a police official said.
And the authorities announced that at least 85 people died in the disaster that sank the wooden ship, which was believed to be a cargo ship carrying passengers illegally in the Indian Ocean, with 130 people on board.