#TheKetchupBoatGuy: Man Survives 24 Days At Sea Adrift With Just Ketchup !

Credit: Erik Mclean/ unsplash

A US ketchup manufacturer is making arrangements to provide a new boat to a man who ate the company’s signature condiment to survive being lost at sea for nearly a month. 

The Ketchup Boat Guy

The Heinz food company, based in Pittsburgh, has made contact with the saved sailor, Elvis François, about buying him a new sailing vessel after it launched a social media campaign which was titled #FindtheKetchupBoatGuy that quickly went viral. François had abandoned his old boat when he was finally rescued.

We received thousands of likes, shares and messages of kindness in our search to find Elvis François,” a statement on Heinz’s Instagram page said on Monday. “It was an incredible group effort across six continents that led to the hundreds of articles and leads and our eventual contact with Elvis.” Emo News, a media outlet in Dominica, where François is from, had reported in a brief Facebook post on Sunday that Heinz representatives met with the sailor over a Zoom conference call two days earlier.

The #FindtheKetchupBoatGuy campaign has served as a postscript of sorts to a survival saga that began in December, when currents in the Caribbean swept François’ sailboat away while he made repairs to it off the island of Sint Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles, where he lives. François later told officials that he tried to use his cellphone to tell his friends where he was so they could come find him, but he didn’t have an adequate signal. He subsisted on a bottle of Heinz ketchup, garlic powder, cubes of the Maggi brand of soup and rainwater which he collected with a cloth. He also scrawled the word “help” in English on the boat’s hull.

Tough Survival

François has said he spent a total of 24 days adrift, having to remove water from the boat to avoid sinking and unsuccessfully trying to start a fire as a distress signal. Eventually, he used a mirror to flag down a passing plane, whose pilot noticed him about 120 nautical miles north-west of Colombia’s Guajira peninsula. A container ship’s crew then brought him to the port of Cartagena, where – other than some weight loss – he was given a clean bill of health, according to the Colombian navy, which announced the remarkable rescue on 18 January.

“At some point I lost hope and thought about my family,” François said in a video released by the Colombian navy. “I thank the [rescuers] – if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be telling the story.” François abandoned his sailboat at sea after the container ship picked him up. And after Heinz realized that he had survived with the help of three daily doses from one of the food manufacturer’s ketchup bottles, the company sought to track him down and give him a new boat.

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Source: Theguardian


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