A sailor who accidentally found himself adrift in the Caribbean told how he survived for 24 days by catching rainwater in a sail and eating nothing but ketchup, stock cubes and garlic powder.
Now ketchup makers Heinz want to find castaway Elvis Francois, so they can buy him a new boat.
A message on the company’s official Instagram reads: "To whoever finds this message, we need your help tracking down an amazing man with an amazing story.
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“You may remember Elvis Francois as the brave sailor who survived on nothing but ketchup and spices while adrift at sea for 24 days. Well, Heinz wants to celebrate his safe return home and help him buy a new boat…but we can't seem to find him”.
In late January this year, Elvis had been repairing his sailing boat on the island of St. Martin, in the Netherlands Antilles, when a sudden change in the weather swept him out to sea.
The 47-year-old was left adrift on the ocean with no way of powering the craft.
He tried to call for help on his mobile phone but wasn’t able to get reception: “I called my friends, they tried to contact me, but I lost the signal. There was nothing else to do but sit and wait."
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There was no food on the boat, and Elvis hadn’t been prepared for a long sea voyage: “I have no food. It’s just a bottle of ketchup that was on the boat. Garlic powder, and [stock cubes],” he said,. “So, I mixed it up with some water.”
When Heinz heard about Elvis’s story, they were keen to get involved in the story.
They tried contacting the government of Dominica, where Elvis lives, with no success before reaching out to the Colombian Navy who had rescued him.
Now they’ve launched a “message in a ketchup bottle” in hope of tracking him down.
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"We're setting this message adrift into the sea of the internet, because if anyone can help us find him, it's you," the company said. "If you or anyone you know can help us get in contact with Elvis Francois, please drop us a DM."
A Heinz spokesperson told CBS News that they want to give Elvis a "new state-of-the-art boat."
They promised that it would be "equipped with full navigational technology to avoid another disaster in the future."
So far they can’t find him and they’re taking the search worldwide: "We're hoping to spread the word far and wide so Heinz can finally gift the new boat to Elvis," a statement read.
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