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Madagascan police chief swims to safety after helicopter crash at sea

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Madagascar

The Madagascan police chief announced that he swam for 12 hours following a helicopter crash at sea.

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

At least 39 died people died in the accident.

"It was around 7pm, we could fly very well. We could do a night flight, it was clear. It happened because of a gust of wind. It was not the pilot's fault. It wasn't a mechanical failure either. The helicopter dove and got destroyed. I didn't have a life jacket but the pilot and the mechanic did. I took the pilot's chair as a lifebelt and that's how I was saved, said General Serge Gelle, Secretary of State for Police.

The mechanic of the aircraft also managed to reach safety following the crash on Monday.

"It was about 4 o'clock in the morning, we were adjusting our sails and we saw him, and he called for help, he said: "Help, our helicopter is down. Help us!"", recounted Zambi, a fisherman who participated in the rescue.

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

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