Man Survives on Ketchup While Lost at Sea for 24 Days

While ketchup isn’t everyone’s first choice for a meal, it was able to have enough nutrients to help one man survive while being lost at sea. The Colombian navy rescued a man from Dominica who survived 24 days adrift in the Caribbean on a sailboat by eating ketchup, garlic powder and seasoning cubes.

Elvis Francois told Colombian authorities that currents swept the sailboat out to sea while he was making repairs off the island of St. Martin in the Netherlands Antilles. “I called my friends, they tried to contact me but I lost the signal. There was nothing else to do but sit and wait,” Francois said.

To last through the journey, the 47-year-old’s diet consisted of what he had on board at the time: a bottle of ketchup, garlic powder and Maggi cubes. He also had to constantly remove water from the boat to prevent it from sinking and scrawled the word “help” in English on the boat’s hull, which was key to his eventual rescue.

A plane finally spotted Francois’ mirror signal, which the navy told him that he was spotted when the plane passed again. The sailboat and Francois were spotted from the air 120 nautical miles northwest of La Guajira peninsula and then escorted to the port city of Cartagena.

The navy said Francois was found in good health when he was rescued. After receiving a medical check on shore, he was handed over to immigration authorities for his return home to Dominica.