A 47-year-old man survived 24 days in the Caribbean Sea on a boat with only a bottle of ketchup, garlic powder and bouillon cubes available to eat. He was rescued by the Colombian Navy.
24 days alone against nature. Elvis Francois, a 47-year-old Dominican, survived more than three weeks in the Caribbean Sea before being rescued by the Colombian Navy, reports BFM-TV. On his boat, the castaway had only three ingredients “a bottle of ketchup, garlic powder and Maggi (bouillon cubes)”. “I mixed everything with water to survive for about 24 days,” the survivor said. in a video released by the Colombian Navy.
Desde el aire estableció la ubicación del velero en emergencia que tenía la palabra “HELP” (Ayuda) grabada sobre su casco.
— Armada de Colombia (@ArmadaColombia) January 18, 2023
A call for help received by an airplane
Elvis Francois had written the word “help” on the hull of his sailboat. He was found 120 nautical miles (about 220 km) northwest of Puerto Bolivar, in the northern department of La Guajira, said 20 minutes.
“On January 15, I saw a plane go by. I had a mirror and I started sending signals” with the reflection of the sun, “when I saw it go by twice, I understood that ‘they had seen me,’ he explains to RTL.
The man was eventually rescued from the Colombian Navy and a merchant ship.
Lost at sea due to weather
The survivor had been “carried out to sea” due to bad weather conditions last December, when he sailed a sailboat in front of a port in Saint-Martin, an island in the northeast of the West Indies, details a press release from the Colombian Navy taken up by several media.
“Without any knowledge of navigation, he was lost and disoriented at sea, his efforts to maneuver the ship and the equipment on board were for naught,” adds a navy source.
The Dominican had tried to make calls with the boat’s telephone, in vain. There was no network. “I couldn’t do anything but sit and wait… 24 days away from the earth, with no one to talk to, no idea what to do, or where I was. It was hard, for moments I lost hope, I thought of my family,” he said in the video.
He was eventually handed over to Colombian immigration services to organize his return to Dominica, reports The Parisian.