Food processing giant Heinz has offered to buy a new boat for the Dominican sailor who reportedly survived on ketchup, garlic powder and seasoning cubes after he got lost at sea for 24 days.
As previously reported by Face2Face Africa, Elvis Francois was eventually rescued by the Colombian navy. Following his rescue, Francois 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. His boat was left behind after he was rescued.
After learning about his story and how he managed to survive, Heinz offered to purchase a new boat for him, CBS News reported. But the company is yet to establish contact with him. In a post on Instagram last week, Heinz asked for help in tracking Francois down.
“To whoever finds this message, we need your help tracking down an amazing man with an amazing story. 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,” the company wrote in the post.
In the wake of his rescue, officials said Francois scribbling “help” in English on the hull of the boat was crucial to finding 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.
“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, who resides in St. Martin, said in reference to when he got lost at sea.
Heinz said they have since gotten in touch with the Dominican government and the Colombian navy in an effort to locate him. “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 stated in the Instagram post. “If you or anyone you know can help us get in contact with Elvis Francois, please drop us a DM.”
A spokesperson for Heinz also told CBS News that the boat they intend to gift Francois is “state-of-the-art” and “new.” The company also said the boat will be “equipped with full navigational technology to avoid another disaster in the future.”