January 28, 2023

They rescue a man who spent weeks lost at sea and survived on tomato sauce

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(CNN) — A Dominica man who spent 24 days adrift in the Caribbean Sea says he survived on little more than tomato sauce.

Elvis Francois, during a medical examination after being rescued in Cartagena, Colombia, on January 16, 2023. (Colombian Navy Press Office/AP)

Elvis Francois, 47, was found 120 nautical miles (about 220 kilometers) northwest of Puerto Bolívar in Colombia after a plane spotted the word “help” etched on the hull of his sailboat, the Navy said. Colombiana in a statement this Thursday.

“I had no food. It was just a bottle of ketchup that was in the boat, garlic powder and Maggi (chicken stock cubes), so I mixed it with a little bit of water,” Francois said in a video provided by the Colombian military.

Francois said he had been repairing his boat near the Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin in December when adverse weather conditions drove the vessel out to sea.

He said he lacked navigational knowledge and was unable to maneuver the boat back to shore, spending weeks lost at sea.

“Twenty-four days – no land, no one to talk to. You don’t know what to do, you don’t know where you are. It was tough,” he said. “At a certain point, I lose hope. I think of my family.”

After being rescued, he was transferred to the port city of Cartagena where he received medical attention and was later turned over to immigration authorities to send him back to his country, Colombian officials said.



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