Colombian navy rescues man who survived weeks at sea with ketchup


A man who spent 24 days adrift in the Caribbean Sea says he survived by eating little more than ketchup.

Elvis Francois, 47, was found 120 nautical miles northwest of Puerto Bolívar in Colombia after an aircraft engraved the word “help” on the hull of his sailboat, the Colombian Navy said in a statement Thursday.

“I had no food. It was just a bottle of ketchup that was on the boat, garlic powder and Maggi (stock cubes), so I mixed it with some water,” Francois said in a Colombian military video.

Francois, from the island nation of Dominica, said he had made repairs to his boat near the Dutch part of the island of Sint Maarten in December when adverse weather conditions pulled his boat out to sea.

He said he had no knowledge of navigation and was unable to maneuver his boat back to shore – lost at sea for weeks.

“Twenty-four days – no country, no one to talk to. Don’t know what to do, don’t know where you are. It was rough,” he said. “At some point I lose hope. I think of my family.”

After being rescued, he was transferred to the port city of Cartagena, where he received medical care and was later handed over to immigration authorities for his return home, Colombian officials said.

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