Dominican man Elvis Francois has been rescued after being lost at sea for weeks, drifting almost 1,000 miles from where he was last ashore. According to The Associated Press, Francois was found surviving on seasoning packets and ketchup and was spotted by a passing airplane after 24 days of being adrift on January 15.
“At some point, I lost hope,” The 47-year-old man said in an interview after his rescue. Francois’ tragedy occurred while attempting to work on his sailboat off a Netherlands island last month. While he was on his boat, powerful currents pushed the vessel out further into the sea. Since he wasn’t expecting to be on his ship for long, he hadn’t packed the necessities for survival.
“I called my friends, they tried to contact me, but I lost the signal. There was nothing else to do but sit and wait,” He explained, “I have no food. It’s just a bottle of ketchup that was on the boat. Garlic powder, and Maggi. I mixed it up with some water,” Francois told rescuers that he collected rainwater with a cloth and wrote “help” on the front of his boat.
“Twenty-four days, no land. Nobody to talk to. I don’t know what to do. You don’t know where you are. It was rough,” The condition of the boat began to deteriorate as he floated further out to sea. Francois described continuously scooping water from his boat to prevent it from sinking entirely. “I thank the coast guard. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be telling the story,” Francois finished.
After flagging a passing plane down with a mirror, he was found and safely brought back to the nearest port city of Cartagena. Thankfully, Francois was healthy when he was brought back to shore on January 18 and brought back to the Dominican Republic.