The Colombian navy shared a statement on Thursday (Jan. 19) saying that Elvis Francois, 47, was saved after a plane noticed the word “help” written on his boat while flying near Colombia’s Puerto Bolivar. “I had no food,” Francois said in a video the navy shared. “It was just a bottle of ketchup that was on the boat, garlic powder and Maggi (stock cubes) so I mixed it up with some water.”
He also told the story of how this happened, revealing that he was in the midst of fixing his boat while near the Dutch section of Saint Martin back in December 2022 when strong weather pulled it into the sea. He was not aware of where he was and how to return to the shore, so he drifted further and further out into the water while consuming what little resources he could find.
“Twenty four days – no land, nobody to talk to. Don’t know what to do, don’t know where you are. It was rough,” Francois said. “At a certain time, I lose hope. I think about my family.”
Colombian officials reported that upon being rescued, Francois was transported to Cartagena to receive care before being handed over to immigration authorities so that he could return to his family in his home island, Dominica.