DOMINICA- The all-out search for Elvis Francois, who survived 24 days adrift at sea eating ketchup, has come to an end.
Several social media campaigns have been launched by Heinz to locate Francois and provide him with a new boat after he was rescued 120 nautical miles from Puerto Bolivar in the Caribbean Sea by the Colombian military on January 16, 2023.
The 47-year-old was found on the Caribbean island of Dominica with the help of a local newspaper Heinz revealed.
‘We received thousands of likes, shares, and messages of kindness in our search to find Elvis Francois,’ the Pittsburgh-based company said Monday. ‘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.’
A Heinz representative spoke with the sailor via Zoom on Friday, CBS News reported.
The weather caused Francois’ boat to drift away from a dock on St. Maarten while he was working on it.
During his wait for rescue, he had nothing but ketchup and spice to satisfy his appetite.
According to a video released by the Colombian Navy, Francois said, “I had no food. There was only a bottle of ketchup that was on the boat, garlic powder and (bouillon cubes) Maggi.” Further explaining, “so I mixed it up with some water for me to survive 24 days in the sea.”
Despite starting a fire on his sailboat, stranded Francois was unable to attract the attention of others passing nearby.
Suddenly his luck changed when a small airplane flew overhead and noticed that he’d carved ‘help’ into the boat’s hull.
“The final days, about the 15th of January, I saw a plane. I had a mirror. I was making some signals,” he said. “They passed over the boat twice so I realized they saw me. I am grateful for being alive today because of them.”
Following that, Heinz flooded social media with an Instagram post on February 16 that featured an image of Dominica with the caption, “He’s here somewhere.” “We just don’t know where.”
Heinz and Francois were able to meet thanks to the Dominican news outlet EmoNews.
The company announced that it was working with Francois to “gift him a new boat.”
‘Anyone who shared, liked or commented on the brand’s post helped broaden the reach and played an important part in finding Elvis,‘ Heinz said in the statement. ‘Heinz wants to thank everyone who helped.’