Heinz plans to give a new boat to a man who says he survived 24 days stranded at sea by eating ketchup after tracking him down

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Photo of Elvis Francois smiling whilst holding a ketchup bottle and Dominica flag
Elvis Francois said he still liked ketchup despite his ordeal.Emo News
  • Elvis Francois says he survived being stranded at sea for more than three weeks by eating ketchup.

  • Heinz sought the internet's help last week to locate him so it could give him a new boat.

  • He was found by local outlet Emo News in Dominica and given a cellphone by a telecoms company.

A man who says he survived being stranded at sea for 24 days by eating little more than ketchup has been found after Heinz launched a campaign to track him down.

The ketchup maker appealed to the internet to help find the castaway last week so it could celebrate his return home to Dominica and give him a new boat.

Elvis Francois told Insider on Saturday he'd heard from many people that Heinz was trying to find him, but he didn't have a phone. Insider has viewed a copy of his photo ID to verify his identity.

"I spoke to Heinz yesterday and they said they'll try to find a way to organize getting a boat for me," he said.

A media outlet in Dominica called Emo News tracked him down on the Caribbean island after it saw Heinz's appeal to find the 47-year-old.

"I knew Elvis lived in the community near me and I took a drive to go and look for him – and found him," Emerline Anselm, the CEO of Emo News, told Insider.

Anselm put out a Facebook Live video with Francois on Thursday to show that he'd been located and that he was not an impersonator. "I would say I'm a kind of mysterious person; I like to travel," he said in the video.

The video was seen by a Heinz representative, who said in a comment: "We've hopped into your DMs - let's get Elvis his boat!"

Photo of Elvis Francois with workers from Flow
Francois was given a cellphone by Dominican telecoms company Flow.Emo News

A Kraft Heinz representative told Insider it had spoken to Francois: "We are working through the logistics of gifting him a new boat. We will have more to share on Monday."

Francois said he felt "quite excited. Depending on the size of the boat I could use the boat to do fishing or tours of the Caribbean."

Francois was in Saint Martin in December repairing his boat when it drifted out to sea. He says he survived by eating ketchup three times a day with garlic powder and stock cubes for 24 days.

He was rescued on January 16 about 120 nautical miles northwest of La Guajira, in northeast Colombia, after a plane saw a "help" sign on his boat, The Associated Press and CNN reported.

In this photo provided by Colombia's Navy press office, castaway Elvis Francois is attended by Colombian Navy members after he was rescued near the department of La Guajira, in the extreme north of Colombia, as he sits on board the merchant ship CMA CGM Voltario at the port of Cartagena, Colombia, Monday, Jan. 16, 2023. According to the Navy, the 47-year-old from Dominica said he had been adrift for 24 days in the Caribbean Sea after he was repairing a boat last December near the island of Sint-Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles.
Colombian Navy personnel attend castaway Elvis Francois after he was rescued in January.Colombian Navy/AP

Eating ketchup for 24 days hasn't put him off the condiment, as Francois told Insider he still used it. He said surviving after so long at sea was a "relief," but added it "was not easy when you can't do anything but wait."

Flow, a local telecommunications company, gave him with a cellphone after learning that he didn't have one. When presenting it to him in a Facebook Live video, he said he'd rationed the ketchup and ate it "three times a day."

Read the original article on Business Insider