Survival at Sea: A Month with Ketchup and Seasonings

Elvis Francois, a 47-year-old sailor from Dominica, managed to survive almost a month stranded at sea, with ketchup and seasonings as his only source of sustenance. In December 2022, while carrying out repairs on his vessel near St. Martin, unforeseen currents swept him out to the open sea. Losing his signal, he was cut off from the outside world, unable to call for assistance.

With no food aboard, Francois had to improvise to survive. He mixed ketchup with garlic powder and Maggi seasoning cubes, using water to create an improvised meal. He also ingeniously collected rainwater on a cloth for hydration.

Despite efforts to light a fire for a distress signal, he was unsuccessful. Nevertheless, he crafted a “HELP” sign on his boat’s hull and tried to catch the attention of passing planes by reflecting the sun’s rays off a mirror. After 24 days of this maritime ordeal, he was finally located by the Colombian Navy, approximately 120 nautical miles northwest of La Guajira.

Francois was rescued and transported to Cartagena, where he was given the necessary medical care after his epic survival feat.

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