A man who spent 24 days adrift in the Caribbean says he survived by eating little more than ketchup.
Elvis Francois, 47, was found 120 nautical miles northwest of Colombia’s Puerto Bolívar after a plane saw the word “Help” engraved on the hull of his sailboat, the Colombian Navy said in a statement Thursday.
“I had nothing to eat. It was just a bottle of ketchup on the boat, garlic powder and maggi (stock cubes) so I mixed it with some water,” Francois said in a video provided by the Colombian army.
Francois, from the island nation of Dominica, said he was carrying out repairs on his boat near the Dutch part of Saint Martin island in December when adverse weather conditions pulled his boat out to sea.
He said he lacked navigation skills and was unable to maneuver his boat back to shore – he had lost weeks at sea.
“Twenty-four days – no country, no one to talk to. I don’t know what to do, I don’t know where you are. It was tough,” he said. “At some point I lose hope. I think of my family.”
After being rescued, he was taken to the port city of Cartagena, where he received medical attention and was later handed over to immigration authorities for his return home, Colombian officials said.