Foreign Minister Mohammed Ghazali Shafie was found alive in a mountainous, dense jungle region yesterday only hours after he was declared dead in the crash of his light plane near the Malaysian capital.
"God is great," Ghazali said to reporters as he stepped into an ambulance from a rescue helicopter. Ghazali, 60, suffered only a minor injury to his right arm in the crash that killed two others.
The six-seat Cessna aircraft piloted by Ghazali plunged into the mountains 20 miles northeast of Kuala Lumpur only 20 minutes after takeoff Sunday.
Ghazali said he jumped from the plane as he sensed it was about to hit a tree. The plane then hit a hill with the two others still aboard.
Ghazali said he approached the downed plane and found the two men alive. "I told them I was getting help and I walked away but fell into a ravine" and fainted, he said.
Rescuers who dropped by parachute to the crash site at dusk Sunday, first reported Ghazali died along with his bodyguard and a professional flying instructor. A rescue team, however, hacked its way through the dense jungle and found Ghazali in the underbrush about 200 feet from the wreckage. The other bodies were found in the Cessna.