A Madagascan police minister, Serge Gelle, is reported to have swum for 12 hours to the shore after their helicopter crashed off the Island’s Northern coast.
He is said to be one of the two survivors.
The helicopter’s pilot and another military officer on board are still missing
The crash, whose cause is not yet known, happened on Monday while the team was flying to inspect a site of a shipwreck in the North East of the country on Monday night.
Mr. Serge Gelle, who is the country’s Secretary of State for police and a fellow policeman reached land in the seaside of Mahambo separately on Tuesday morning, port authority chief Jean-Edmond Randrianantenaina 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.
Mr. Gelle became minister as part of a cabinet reshuffle in August after serving in the police for three decades.
Mr 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.”
The number of people killed in that accident has risen to 64 with at least 20 others still missing, the maritime agency has said
The vessel was a cargo ship that was not authorised to carry passengers, and was overloaded and water flooded its engine, an agency official was quoted by Reuters news as saying.