Man who was lost at sea says he survived on ketchup for 24 days – TheLiberal.ie – Our News, Your Views

Man who was lost at sea says he survived on ketchup for 24 days




Image source: Caribbean Naval Force

A man from the Caribbean island of Dominica says he survived 24 days lost at sea in a sailboat eating ketchup before being rescued in Colombian waters, the country’s naval authority said.

“I had no food. There was only a bottle of ketchup that was on the boat, garlic powder and (bouillon cubes) Maggi. So I mixed it up with some water for me to survive 24 days in the sea,” Elvis Francois, 47, said in English in a video released by the Colombian Navy, reports RTE.

The islander had the word “help” engraved on the hull of the boat when he was found 120 nautical miles northwest of Puerto Bolivar in the northern department of La Guajira.

Mr. Francois said he saw other boats go by and tried to stop them and even lit a fire on his ship, but they didn’t see him.

Mr. Francois drained the water to avoid sinking.

“The final days, about the 15th of January, I saw a plane. I had a mirror. I was making some signals. They passed over the boat twice so I realised they saw me,” he continued. “I am grateful for being alive today because of them.”” he said, reports RTE.

The flight crew notified the Navy, who then rescued Mr. Francois with the help of a merchant vessel.

Francois added: “24 days, no land. Nobody to talk to. Don’t know what to do. Don’t know where you are. It was rough. A certain time I lose hope. I think about my family,” reports RTE.

The video released by the Navy shows a doctor examining Mr Francois, who appears to be in good health.

He was working to repair a sailboat off a port on the Caribbean island of St Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles in December last year when the weather turned bad and he was swept out to sea, the Navy said.

Mr. Francois tried to call his cell phone but lost signal.

He was handed over to the immigration authorities to coordinate his return to his country.

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