In December, 47-year-old Elvis Francois found himself stranded at sea for nearly a month. The Dominican man had been fixing up his boat just off the island of St. Martin in the Netherlands Antilles when weather conditions changed and caused his boat to drift away.
In a tweet from Jan. 18, the Colombian Navy announced they discovered him about 120 nautical miles away from Puerto Bolívar in the Caribbean Sea. Francois’ survival was no easy accomplishment. After being rescued, he told the Navy officials he became unaware of his surroundings once in the open water. “I tried to [go] back to port, but I lost track because it took me a while to mount the sail and fix the sail,” Francois told officials. “I [called] my friends, my coworkers. They tried to contact me, but they lost service. There was nothing else I could do than sit down and wait,” he added. There was also the issue of very few edible nutrients.
La @ArmadaColombia, en articulación con la @Dimarcolombia, @SENANPanama y el gremio marítimo, rescatamos un extranjero a 120 millas náuticas al noroeste de #PuertoBolívar – Guajira, luego de quedar a la deriva desde diciembre de 2022.#ProtegemosLaVida
— Armada de Colombia (@ArmadaColombia) January 18, 2023
Francois revealed that while he was stranded at sea, he stayed alive by eating a mixture of what he already had stowed away. In a video shared by authorities, the survivor noted his breakfast, lunch and dinner consisted of “just a bottle of ketchup that was on the boat, garlic powder and Maggi (bouillon cubes).” He added, “So, I mixed it up with some water, so I had this to survive for 24 days in the sea.” Navy members spotted him drifting at sea with the word “HELP” written on the boat’s hull. Upon being rescued, he was promptly taken to see medical professionals who checked his vital signs.
According to CBS News, Colombian Army Commander Captain Carlos Urano Montes said Francois “was found to be in good health.” The 47-year-old admitted to feelings of despair during his ordeal after setting a fire for attention didn’t work and mentioned there was even a time an airplane passed him. “At some point, I lost hope and thought about my family, but I thank the coast guard. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be telling the story,” he shared.
See more of Francois’ amazing story below.
Sailor Elvis Francois, 47, who was lost at sea for 24 days on a sailboat says he survived by eating ketchup, garlic granules and stock cubes. pic.twitter.com/ew4GlHOt2L
— Apex World News (@apexworldnews) January 23, 2023
#JUDICIAL Impactante testimonio de Elvis Francois, un ciudadano dominicano que naufragó por el mar Caribe durante 24 días y sobrevivió con salsa de tomate, polvo de ajo y caldo. @ArmadaColombia rescató al extranjero de 47 años, quien regresará a su país. Vía @LuisErnestoC96 pic.twitter.com/CMp0Eeuv6z
— ÚltimaHoraCaracol (@UltimaHoraCR) January 18, 2023