Lost at Sea

Lost at Sea

Kathryn Ball, Author

Elvis Francois was found drifting out in the sea on January 16, 2023, after accidentally drifting out in December. The Colombian army found and rescued him after 24 days of floating. While he was out there, Francois only survived on ketchup and seasonings and collected rainwater on a cloth. 

I had no food. 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 said to the Colombian army. He also had to bail the water out of the boat so he wouldn’t sink. Francois tried to call and contact his friends, but unfortunately, there was no connection. “Twenty-four days – no land, nobody to talk to. Don’t know what to do, don’t know where you are. It was rough,” he said, “at a certain time, I lose hope. I think about my family.” 

Since Francois didn’t have many navigational skills, he tried to grab attention to save himself. First, he tried to start a fire, but it didn’t work. At some point, Francois wrote “HELP” on the boat’s hull, so when planes flew overhead, he would use his mirror to send the distress signal.

Luckily, a plane did fly overhead and immediately got him checked out by the Colombian army. Thankfully, he was doing alright when they found him, but if he would have been out there for a couple more days he would have been struggling and barely getting by. He also signaled them with a mirror to grab their attention. Thanks to them, he can now see his family, which Francois never thought we would do again.