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Heinz Trying to Track Down Man Who Survived 24 Days At Sea By Eating Ketchup

The food and ketchup manufacturing company wants to buy the rescued sailor a new boat

The H.J. Heinz Company is trying to track down a Dominican sailor who managed to survive 24 days at sea on Maggi seasoning cubes, garlic powder, and a bottle of ketchup.

After learning of the story, Heinz wanted to find the sailor, Elvis Francois, and give him a new boat.

The food and ketchup manufacturer posted a photo of a virtual message in a (ketchup) bottle on Instagram, asking the company’s followers to help track down the man.

“You may remember Elvis Francois as the brave sailor who survived on nothing but ketchup and spices while adrift at sea for 24 day,” the company wrote. “Well, Heinz wants to celebrate his safe return home and help him buy a new boat … but we can’t seem to find him.”

The company added, “So, we’re setting this message adrift into the sea of the internet, because if anyone can help us find him, it’s you. If you or anyone you know can help us get in contact with Elvis Francois, please drop us a DM.”


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In December, Francois was repairing his boat off the island of St. Martin in Netherland Antilles when a strong current swept his boat out to sea. The 47-year-old attempted to contact his family, but lost the signal to his cell phone, Dominican News Online reported.

Francois scratched the word “help” in English on the boat’s hull, which played a key role in his rescue. NPR quoted the Colombian navy’s statement saying, “the sailboat was spotted from the air 120 nautical miles northwest of La Guajira peninsula and Francois was taken to the port city of Cartagena by a passing container ship.”

“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 said in a video released by the Colombian National Navy.

“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.

Comments on Heinz’s Instagram page were largely supportive of the effort.

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