Madagascar’s Police Minister and Fellow Crew Member Survive 12 Hours in Indian Ocean Following Helicopter Crash

Madagascar’s police minister and an air force mechanic are safe after being stranded in the ocean for 12 hours following a helicopter crash in the Indian Ocean.

Gen. Serge Gellé, 57, the Secretary of State for the Gendarmerie, was plucked from the water by fishermen, while Chief Warrant Officer Jimmy Laitsara managed to swim to shore.

The two were among four passengers on the helicopter, which was surveying the scene of a shipwreck Monday that left at least 64 dead. The other two are still missing.

“My turn to die has not yet come, thank God. I’m well. I’m just cold,” said Gelle, who looked exhausted, in a video posted on Twitter. “But I’m sad because I don’t know if my friends are alive.”

He said he did not have a life jacket and used his seat as a floatation device.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

The shipwrecked boat, the Francia, is believed to have sunk due to flooding in the engine room. Twenty passengers are still missing.

Some information in this report comes from The Associated Press.

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