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Castaway lost at sea for weeks survives by eating ketchup

One man who was lost at sea for 24 consecutive days aboard a sailboat claims he survived by eating stock cubes, garlic granules, and ketchup.

Elvis Francois shared his story of how he lost hope while drifting in the Caribbean Sea off Colombia.

After writing the word “help”, the 47-year old was finally spotted from the air.

Officials claim that his plea for help was crucial to the rescue of the Colombian navy.


The ordeal started in December when the strong currents swept his boat out to sea while he was making repairs on the Dutch Antilles island of St Martin.

Francois, originally from Dominica, stated that he called his friends and tried to reach me but lost the signal.

“I had nothing to do except sit and wait. But I didn’t have any food.

More information about the Caribbean

“I had only one bottle of tomato sauce, which was in the boat.”

He also discovered the seasoning cubes and garlic granules. He mixed the condiments together with water to get enough energy to last the day.

He described how he had needed to keep the water from the boat from sinking and had to do so repeatedly. He tried to light a flame to send a distress signal but to no avail.

He eventually signalled with a mirror to alert the plane passing by.

Francois was seen around 120 nautical mile northwest of La Guajira, which borders Venezuela. He was then escorted to Cartagena by a passing container ship.

“At some point, I lost hope”

Francois stated that he lost hope at one point and thought about his family. But he thanked the coast guard. Without them, I wouldn’t be telling my story.

The navy stated that he was in good health at the time he was saved.

Before being turned over to immigration officials for his return to Dominica, he was subject to a medical examination.

Colombia’s Navy stated that it will continue to develop maritime surveillance and control operations in coordination with authorities to protect life at sea.

A German tourist was able to survive being lost at sea for three hours off New Zealand in 2019 because of his jeans.

He turned the jeans into a floating device, a trick he claimed he learned from US Navy Seals.

“Without my jeans, I wouldn’t have been here today. They were the thing that saved and saved me.”

A French man aged 62 survived 16 hours in an inflatable bubble in his boat that was capsized in the Atlantic Ocean. Crews then embarked on a rescue mission which crews described as “verging onto the impossible”.


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