They rescue a man who has been lost at sea for weeks and survives by eating tomato sauce

(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 his recovery on January 16, 2023 in Cartagena, Colombia. (Colombian Navy Press Office/AP)

47-year-old Elvis Francois, 120 nautical miles (about 220 kilometers) northwest of Puerto Bolivar, Colombia, after a plane spotted the word “help” scrawled on the hull of his sailboat, the Navy said in a statement Thursday in Colombiana.

“I have no food. It was the ketchup bottle that was on the boat, garlic powder and maggi (chicken stock cubes) so I mixed it with some water,” Francois said in a video provided by the Colombian military.

Francois said he was repairing his boat near the Dutch side of the island of St. Martin in December when adverse weather conditions put the vessel out to sea.

He said he had no knowledge of navigation and was unable to bring the boat back to shore after being lost for weeks at sea.

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

After being rescued, he was transferred to the port city of Cartagena, where he was given medical treatment and then handed over to immigration officials to be sent back to his country, Colombian officials said.

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Esmond Harmon

"Entrepreneur. Social media advocate. Amateur travel guru. Freelance introvert. Thinker."

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