After enlisting the public’s help to find Elvis Francois, a sailor who survived weeks lost at sea off of ketchup and seasonings, ketchup giant Heinz has finally tracked him down – and plans to gift him a new boat.
On February 14, the company published a call for help on social media, saying they were struggling to get in touch with Francois.
The Dominica-born sailor made headlines after he spent 24 days adrift in the Caribbean Sea in January. After being rescued by the Colombian navy, Francois, 47, told officials that he had survived off of a bottle of ketchup, garlic powder, and Maggi stock cubes, which he mixed with water.
Heinz told CNN on Monday that they found Francois with the help of local reporters in Dominica working for the publication EmoNews. The company had previously said that they hoped to gift him “a new, state-of-the-art boat” to celebrate his safe return.
“We were able to connect with him and discuss the best way help support him and his family,” a Heinz representative told CNN. “We (Heinz) and Elvis are currently working out the logistical details of gifting him his new boat.”
The company emphasized the central role social media played in helping locate the sailor.
“Anyone who shared, liked or commented on the brand’s post helped broaden the reach and played an important part in finding Elvis,” said Heinz.
Francois was repairing his boat off the island of Saint Martin in December when his boat was pulled out to sea. He told Colombian authorities that he lacked the navigational knowledge to return to shore and spent 24 days lost at sea. He was rescued after a plane spotted his sailboat with “help” engraved into the hull, according to Colombian authorities.