A man from Dominica lost at sea for almost a month survived, in part, by eating ketchup, garlic powder and Maggi seasoning cubes, officials said.
Elvis Francois, who was rescued from his sailboat this week, also consumed rainwater that he scooped up with a cloth during his 24 days out in the Caribbean.
The 47-year-old got lost in December when currents pushed his sailboat out to sea as he was making repairs off the island of St. Martin in the Netherlands Antilles, which is where he calls home, he told Colombian officials.
“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 explained in a video released by the Colombian Navy.
He was eventually spotted by a passing plane as he used a mirror as a signal and wrote out the word “help” on the boat’s hull, according to officials.
A passing container ship picked him up about 120 nautical miles northwest of the port city of Cartagena, navy officials said.
Before his miraculous survival, Francois said he had to consistently bail water out of the boat so it wouldn’t sink. He tried to set a fire as a distress signal, he said, but that failed.
“At some point I lost hope and thought about my family, but I thank the coast guard. If it weren’t for them I wouldn’t be telling the story,” Francois said.
Commander Carlos Urbano Montes said Thursday Francois was in good health following a medical checkup, but apparently lost some weight.
The navy said after the medical check, he was given to immigration officials so he could get home to Dominica.
With Post wires
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