A man lost at sea on a boat for 24 days says he survived by eating ketchup, garlic cloves and stock cubes.
Alois Francois recounted how he “lost hope” while fleeing Colombia in the Caribbean Sea.
The 47-year-old was finally spotted from the air after writing the word “help” on the boat’s hull.
The call for help was key to her rescue by the Colombian navy, officials said.
The sailor’s ordeal began in December, when his boat was swept out to sea by strong currents while he was making repairs on the island of St. Maarten in the Dutch Antilles, where he lives.
“I called my friends, they tried to contact me, but I lost the signal,” said Mr Francois, who is originally from Dominica.
“There was nothing to do but sit and wait, but I had no food.
“I only had one bottle of tomato sauce that was in the boat.”
He also found garlic cloves and spice cubes, and mixed the spices with water to give him enough energy to survive.
He described how he had to constantly pump water out of the boat to prevent it from sinking. He also tried to set a fire to send a distress signal but was unsuccessful.
He eventually managed to alert a passing plane by pointing through the mirror.
Mr Francois was spotted about 120 nautical miles north-west of the La Guajira peninsula, which borders Venezuela, before being taken to the port city of Cartagena by a passing container ship.
‘At some point I lost hope’
Mr Francois said: “At some point I lost hope and thought about my family, but I thank the coastguard. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be telling the story.”
He was in good health when he was rescued, the Navy said.
He underwent a medical examination before being handed over to immigration authorities to return to Dominica.
The Colombian Navy said it will continue maritime control and surveillance operations with authorities to protect life at sea.
In 2019, a German tourist survived being lost at sea for more than three hours off New Zealand. Thanks to his genius.
He turned the jeans into a flotation device – a trick he said he learned from US Navy SEALs.
“Without Janice I wouldn’t be here today – she was really what saved me.”
A 62-year-old Frenchman Man survived in an air bubble inside his overturned boat for 16 hours. in the Atlantic Ocean before crews launched a rescue mission described as “verging on the impossible” in August last year.
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