Boat accident in Madagascar: death toll rises to 83

Fifty people have been rescued and five are still missing, a spokesman for the Sea and River Ports Agency (APMF) told CNN. The boat with 138 people on board sank Monday night, the ABMF said.

An ABMF spokesman said the cargo ship “Francia” was not authorized to carry people.

According to Reuters, the boat was overloaded and the engine overflowed, said APMF’s director of operations at sea, Mami Randrianovoni.

Searches were suspended on Wednesday due to bad weather and will resume on Thursday, the APMF said.

The ABMF says General Serge Kelley swam ashore for nearly 12 hours after a search helicopter crashed into the sea late Monday, amid efforts to locate survivors of the boat accident.

An APMF spokesman told CNN on Wednesday that Kelly, the head of the National Gender Mary, was found alive after swimming for nearly 12 hours on Tuesday morning.

Gen. Serge Kelley, head of the National Gendarmerie, was airlifted to safety after swimming for about 12 hours off the northeast coast of Madagascar on Monday.

He said in a statement on Tuesday that the helicopter had crashed “due to wind”. He was accompanied by Prime Minister Christian Enche and National Defense Minister General Leon Richard Rakotonirina, who flew to the area in a private helicopter to oversee the search operation.

President Andrei Rajolina praised their efforts in a tweet on Wednesday, saying he “commanded their utmost devotion to the mission.”

The APMF said the helicopter had three other passengers on board when it crashed: a mechanic, a pilot and Colonel Olivier Andriampinina.

The mechanic was found alive and was rescued Tuesday, the ABMF said. The body of Andriampinina was found, while the search for the pilot is ongoing.

Rajolina Announced Thursday is a national day of mourning.

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