Adrift sailor, Elvis, survives on ketchup for 24 days
Elvis Francois of Dominica has been rescued by the Colombian navy after his sailboat was swept out to sea while he was making repairs. During his ordeal, he survived by eating ketchup and seasoning – the supplies he had onboard – and collecting rainwater with a cloth.
“I have no food. It’s just a bottle of ketchup that was on the boat. Garlic powder, and Maggi,” he says in a video released by the Colombian Navy. “I mixed it up with some water.”
Francois says he was adrift for 24 days. He was repairing the boat last December near the island of Sint-Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles and was swept out to sea by a current. He tried to go back to port, but couldn’t, and he tried to call friends but lost service.
Officials say Francois, 47, had scrawled ‘help’ on the boat’s hull.
After the boat was spotted 120 nautical miles northwest of La Guajira peninsula, Francois was taken to the port city of Cartagena by a passing container ship.
“Without any knowledge of navigation, he was lost and disoriented at sea, his efforts to manoeuvre the ship and the equipment on board were useless”, the Colombian Navy told Caribbean National.
“I called my friends, they tried to contact me, but I lost the signal. There was nothing else to do but sit and wait,” says Francios.
“Twenty-four days away from the earth, with no one to talk to, without knowing what to do, or where I was. It was hard, at times I lost hope, I thought of my family.”
He had to constantly remove water from the boat to prevent it from sinking and he tried to light a fire to send a distress signal – without success.
On 15 January he saw an aircraft and used a mirror to signal it.
“When I saw it pass twice, I understood they had seen me,” he says.
A Colombian naval vessel came to assist him with the support of a merchant ship.
“At some point I lost hope and thought about my family, but I thank the coast guard. If it weren’t for them I wouldn’t be telling the story,” Francois says.
His boat was abandoned when he was picked up, and taken to Cartagena for medical care. Officials will help him get back home according to NBC News.
#JUDICIAL Sin conocimiento en navegación quedó perdido en el mar. Durante días pasaron barcos, y aunque dio llamados de auxilio, no lo vieron. Finalmente, el 15 de enero un avión identificó las señales que lanzó Francois con un espejo y luz de sol. Vía @LuisErnestoC96 pic.twitter.com/J6zJ2b8Du0— ÚltimaHoraCaracol (@UltimaHoraCR) January 18, 2023
All images courtesy of Armada de Colombia.
In Mid January (2023) an Australian couple survived three days after their paddleboard was caught in a strong current that took them out to sea. The pair were found 55km from North West Island, Queensland, where they had been enjoying a wilderness experience before the incident occurred.