by Harry Wilmerding

At least 64 people have died in a boat crash off the northeastern coast of Madagascar, and searches were performed for additional 24 passengers, Reuters reported.

The vessel carrying 138 passengers sank late Monday night, and 54 survived the crash, the Maritime and River Port Agency (APMF) said, according to Reuters.

The boat, a cargo ship that was not authorized to carry passengers, became overloaded, and water filled the engine, said Mamy Randrianavony, the APMF’s director of operations at sea, according to Reuters.

A search helicopter carrying the leader of Madagascar’s national police, Serge Gell?, crashed at sea Monday, CNN reported. Gell? was found alive Tuesday morning after spending almost 12 hours swimming at sea.

Gell? was accompanying Prime Minister Christian Ntsay and the Minister of National Defence General L?on Richard Rakotonirina, who were traveling in a separate helicopter to oversee the search operations for the crashed boat, according to CNN.

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