They rescue a man who spent lost weeks at sea and survived on tomato ketchup

(CNN) – A man from Dominica who spent 24 days adrift in the Caribbean said he lived on little more than tomato sauce.

Elvis Francois, during a medical checkup after he was rescued in Cartagena, Colombia, on January 16, 2023. (Colombian Navy Press Office/AP)

Elvis Francois, 47, was found 120 nautical miles (about 220 kilometers) northwest of Puerto Bolivar in Colombia after an aircraft spotted the word “help” etched on the hull of his sailboat, the Colombian Navy said in a statement Thursday.

“I didn’t have food. “It was just a bottle of ketchup that was in the boat, garlic powder and Maggi (chicken stock cubes), so I mixed it with a little water,” François said in a video provided by the Colombian military.

François said he was repairing his boat near the Dutch part of St. Maarten in December when bad weather pushed the ship out to sea.

He said he lacked navigational knowledge and was unable to maneuver the boat back to shore, where he had spent weeks at sea.

“Twenty-four days—no land, no one to talk to. You don’t know what to do, you don’t know where you are,” he said. “At a certain point, I lose hope. I think of my family.”

After he was rescued, Colombian officials said, he was taken to the port city of Cartagena where he received medical care and was later handed over to immigration authorities for repatriation.

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