Ketchup, garlic, stock cubes. Thanks to these three spices, Elvis François, shipwrecked in the Caribbean, was able to eat for twenty-four days before being rescued by the Colombian Navy. “I had nothing to eat, just a bottle of ketchup, garlic powder and Maggi [cubes de bouillon]. I mixed everything with water to survive about 24 days,” the 47-year-old Dominican said in a video released by the Colombian Navy.
The survivor had the word “Help” written on the hull of his sailboat, on which he was found 120 nautical miles (about 220 km) northwest of Puerto Bolivar in the northern department of La Guajira.
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Bad weather conditions
“On January 15, I saw a plane fly by. I had a mirror and started sending signals” with the reflection of the sun, “when I saw them pass twice, I understood that they had seen me,” explains the forty-something. The Colombian Navy quickly came to rescue him with the support of a merchant ship.
In December, while repairing a sailboat off a port in Saint-Martin, an island in the northeast West Indies, this Dominican resident was “carried out to sea” due to poor weather conditions, according to a statement. from the Navy.
“With no navigational skills, he was lost and disoriented at sea, his efforts to maneuver the ship and onboard equipment were useless,” adds the same source.
He tried several times to make a call, but to no avail due to the lack of a network. “There was nothing I could do but sit and wait (…) 24 days from Earth with no one to talk to, not knowing what to do or where I was. It was hard, sometimes I lost hope, I thought about my family,” said the survivor.
Now Elvis François is in the hands of the immigration authorities so they can organize his return to Dominica.