Heinz finally tracks down Dominican sailor who survived 24 days at sea on ketchup. Company to buy him new boat

Francis Akhalbey February 28, 2023
Elvis Francois said he he survived on ketchup, garlic powder and seasoning cubes after he got lost at sea for 24 days -- Photo Credit: Emo News

Food processing giant Heinz has managed to track down the Dominican sailor it offered to buy a new boat after he made the news for surviving on ketchup, garlic powder, and seasoning cubes when he got lost at sea for 24 days.

As previously reported by Face2Face Africa, the company, after learning about Elvis Francois’ story, took to Instagram last week to ask for help in locating him. In an interview with Insider on Saturday, Francois said several people had told him Heinz was trying to contact him, but he did not have a phone. 

“I spoke to Heinz yesterday and they said they’ll try to find a way to organize getting a boat for me,” the sailor said. Emo News, which is a media platform in Dominica, eventually located Francois after it became aware of Heinz’s plea for help. 

“I knew Elvis lived in the community near me and I took a drive to go and look for him – and found him,” CEO of Emo News, Emerline Anselm, told the news outlet. Anselm also appeared on a Facebook Live video with the 47-year-old to confirm he had been tracked down.

“I would say I’m a kind of mysterious person; I like to travel,” Francois said in the video. A representative for Heinz also commented on the video, writing, “We’ve hopped into your DMs – let’s get Elvis his boat!”

A company representative also told Insider that they had established contact with Francois. “We are working through the logistics of gifting him a new boat,” the representative added. “We will have more to share on Monday.”

Responding to the gesture, Francois said he was “quite excited.” “Depending on the size of the boat I could use the boat to do fishing or tours of the Caribbean,” he added.

Francois was rescued by the Colombian navy in January after he reportedly got lost at sea for 24 days. Following his rescue, he told authorities in Colombia that he was repairing his sailboat off the island of St. Martin in December when sweeping currents cast his boat adrift in the Caribbean sea, The Associated Press reported. His boat was left behind after he was rescued. 

“I called my friends, they tried to contact me, but I lost the signal. There was nothing else to do but sit and wait,” Francois said in a video the navy released.

Officials said Francois scribbling “help” in English on the hull of the boat was crucial to finding and rescuing him. A plane eventually sighted Francois’ sailboat 120 nautical miles northwest of La Guajira peninsula. In a statement, the Colombian navy said a container ship that was passing picked Francois up and transported him to the port city of Cartagena.

But Francois said surviving on ketchup for such a long time hasn’t deterred him from consuming the condiment, per Insider. He said he now eats it “three times a day.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 28, 2023


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