Elvis Francois, a 47-year-old Dominican national, claimed in a video made public by the navy that he went 24 days with no sight of land before being rescued in the Caribbean Sea. The Colombian Navy was able to save him after what the sailor described as a 24-day ordeal during which he only had a bottle of ketchup and some seasonings to eat.
“I have no food. It’s just a bottle of ketchup that was on the boat. Garlic powder, and Maggi,” he said, referring to a seasoning. “So, I mixed it up with some water.”
According to a statement released by the navy on Wednesday, Francois was saved around 120 nautical miles to the northwest of the department of La Guajira, which is located at the northeastern edge of the nation.
He had written “help” on the hull of the boat, which was spotted by air, the navy said.
Elvis Francois was taken to Cartagena for medical care, and officials will help him get back home, the navy said.
In video released by the Navy and distributed by news services The Associated Press and Reuters, Francois tells medical staff he is doing OK.
“Twenty-four days, no land. Nobody to talk to. Don’t know what to do. Don’t know where you are. It was rough,” he said in the video. “A certain time, I lose hope. I think about my family.”
Elvis Francois said he was repairing his sailboat and was swept out to sea by a current off the island of St. Martin in the Netherlands Antilles, where he lives.
Francois said in the video he tried to go back to port, but couldn’t, and he tried to call friends but lost service. “There was nothing else I could do than sit down and wait,” he said.
He used a cloth to collect rainwater, Cmdr. Carlos Urbano Montes told the AP. Francois was picked up by a merchant ship.