A sailor has been rescued after surviving 24 days lost at sea with only ketchup and food seasonings to eat. According to PEOPLE, the man was found 120 miles away from the port of Puerto Bolívar, Colombia. And was rescued by the country’s navy after a plane saw the word “help” engraved on his boat’s hull.
— People (@people) January 20, 2023
The Sailor Drifted Out To Sea Unintentionally
Elvis Francois said he was making repairs to his boat near the island of St. Martin when bad weather conditions pushed him out to sea. According to reports from the Colombian Navy, Francois didn’t have “any kind of knowledge in navigation.” And ultimately, ended up lost.
Twenty-four days — no land, nobody to talk to, don’t know what to do, don’t know where you are — it was rough… At a certain time, I lose hope. I think about my family.
According to NBC News, the 47-year-old sailor tried to contact family and friends with his cellphone. But as he drifted further and further away from land, he eventually lost service.
There was nothing else I could do than sit down and wait.
To survive, Francois has to rely on the limited foot items he has stored on his boat.
I had no food. It was just a bottle of ketchup that was on the boat, garlic powder and Maggi [food seasoning]. So I mixed it up with some water.
Colombian Navy Commander Carlos Urbano Montes said Francois collected rainwater in a cloth to drink, as reported by Associated Press. In addition, Francois had to constantly remove water from the boat to prevent it from sinking. And he also tried to create a distress signal by starting a fire, to no success.
— ITV News (@itvnews) January 20, 2023
The Rescue Of The 47-Year-Old Sailor Lost At Sea
According to NBC News, Francois wrote the word “help” on the hull of his boat. It was spotted by a plane. A passing merchant ship rescued the man. Then navy officials arrived to further assist.
Montes explained that the 47-year-old was found in good health, but suffered weight loss. Additionally, Francois received a medical check in Cartagena after being rescued. Then was handed over to immigration authorities to receive transport back to the country where he lives. The 47-year-old is a native of the Caribbean island of Dominica.
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