Heinz finally finds man who survived 24 days at sea by eating ketchup
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Heinz has found the man who survived 24 days at sea on ketchup, thanks to a local news outlet.
Elvis Francois spent nearly a month adrift after getting caught in bad weather, with the 47-year-old man surviving on only ketchup and spices.
Before becoming adrift back in December, Francois had been working on his boat in St Maarten when he got caught in the adverse weather.
Unable to sail back to shore, Francois had to live on a bottle ketchup and various spices he had on board.
“It was rough,” he told NBC News, adding: “Without no food, it was just a bottle of ketchup that was on the boat. Garlic powder and Maggi (stock cubes), so I mixed it up with some water."
In his desperation, the 47-year-old had even carved ‘help’ into the side of his boat which eventually led to his rescue.
The lost sailor was able signal for help using a small pocket mirror and was eventually spotted by a plane.
“The final days, about 15 January, I saw a plane. I had a mirror. I was making some signals,” he told NBC News.
He added: “They passed over the boat twice so I realised they saw me. I am grateful for being alive today because of them.”
He was finally rescued 120 nautical miles away from Puerto Bolívar in the Caribbean on 16 January, almost 1,000 miles away from where he started.
Shortly after that, Heinz ran a huge social media campaign to find him.
The sauce manufacturer was helped by EmoNews, a Caribbean news outlet which tracked down the missing man.
The company announced the news on Monday in a statement which read: “We received thousands of likes, shares, and messages of kindness in our search to find Elvis Francois.
"It was an incredible group effort across six continents that led to the hundreds of articles and leads and our eventual contact with Elvis. With your help we were able to #FindTheKetchupBoatGuy.”
They also thanked their followers for all their help in locating the sailor, saying: “Anyone who shared, liked or commented on the brand's post helped broaden the reach and played an important part in finding Elvis.”
Since then, Francois and Heniz have met over Zoom, with the ketchup manufacturer hoping to donate a new boat to the sailor.