The sailor named Elvis lived on ketchup for 24 days while lost at sea off Colombia before being rescued by scrawling “help” on his torso and directing sunlight from a mirror to alert a passing plane
- A 47-year-old was rescued from a 24-day drift in a sailboat
- After surviving on minimal food, he was spotted by a passing plane
- He was rescued by the Navy in Colombian waters over 100 miles offshore
A man from the Caribbean island of Dominica says he lost 24 days at sea in a sailboat by eating ketchup before being rescued in Colombian waters.
Elvis Francois, 47, had the word “Help” engraved on the hull of his sailboat when it was found 120 nautical miles northwest of the Colombian coast. Francois said he saw other boats go by and tried to stop them and even started a fire on his ship, but they didn’t see him.
It was only when a passing plane saw the reflection of his mirror and called the Navy that Francois was saved.
Francois was missing at sea for over three weeks before being spotted by an overflying plane. Using a mirror to signal the plane, he knew it had worked when it flew over him twice
Elvis was washed out to sea while repairing a sailboat on the island of St. Maarten. After 24 days at sea, he was finally spotted by a plane that alerted the Navy. Francois received medical attention and was handed over to the Colombian immigration authorities to return home.
“I had nothing to eat. There was only a bottle of ketchup that was on the boat, garlic powder and (stock cubes) maggi. So I mixed it with some water so I can survive 24 days in the sea,” Francois said in English in a video released by the Colombian Navy.
“In the last few days, around January 15th, I saw a plane. I had a mirror. I made a couple of signals,” he said, describing how he tilted the glass to catch the bright sunlight and draw attention.
“They ran over the boat twice, so I realized they saw me,” he continued. “I’m grateful to be alive today because of them.”
The nearby merchant ship assisted the Navy in rescuing Franco from a 24-day sea stranding
The Colombian Navy treated Francois for his more serious illnesses, including dehydration and malnutrition, while escorting the islander back to a safe haven
The flight crew informed the Navy, who then rescued Francois with the help of a merchant ship that escorted them to the nearby port city of Cartagena.
Francois added: “24 days no country. Nobody to talk to. I do not know what to do. I do not know where you are. It was hard. At some point I lose hope. I think of my family.”
“It was very tough. I don’t know how I live today, but I live. And I’m grateful for that,” Francois said.
He was working to repair a sailboat off a port on the Caribbean island of St Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles in December last year when the weather turned bad and he was washed up at sea, the Navy said.
“With no navigational skills, he was lost and disoriented at sea. His efforts to maneuver the ship and equipment on board were unsuccessful,” the statement added.
He was turned over to immigration authorities to coordinate his return to his country.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11654551/Sailor-called-Elvis-lives-ketchup-24-days-lost-sea-Colombian-coast.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Sailor named Elvis lives on ketchup for 24 days while missing at sea off Colombian coast