Less than two weeks ago, Heinz set out on a journeyTo find Elvis François, the man who survived nearly a month at sea eating nothing but ketchup and condiments. On Monday, the company told CBS News that it had found it in Dominica — thanks to the Internet and local reporters.
François, 47, rose to internet fame earlier this year when he was rescued by the Colombian military, who said François got lost while working on his boat in St. Martin after the weather changed and took him out to sea. He wasn’t able to navigate his way home, so all he could do was “sit and wait”—and subsist on the little nuggets he had on board, “ketchup…garlic powder and Maggi,” a brand of soup.
His story prompted Heinz to put out a call for people to help them #FindtheKetchupBoatGuy so they can give him a new boat they promise will be “fully equipped with navigational technology to avoid another disaster in the future.”
“The chase is over,” a Heinz spokesperson told CBS News Monday. “Through the power of social media… Elvis was located in the Caribbean on the island of Dominica.”
The company said its Instagram posts have reached 4.8 million people and garnered more than 4,000 likes — a record for the brand. This helped them get in touch with local Dominican news outlet EmoNews, who the company said could have contacted François.
EmoNews said in a Facebook post that it “can confirm that Heinz representatives successfully reunited with Elvis François via Zoom conference call” on Friday.
“Heinz and Elvis are working out the logistical details of giving him his new boat,” said Haynes. “Anyone who shared, liked or commented on the brand’s post helped expand reach and played an important role in finding Elvis…and Heinz wants to thank everyone who helped.”
It looks like EmoNews found François last week, and posted a dossier Video interview with him on their Facebook page. In it, François says he is “a completely mysterious person” who enjoys traveling and taking risks. About his ordeal being lost at sea, he said he was alone when he got lost and that boat “had some problems”.
I’ve had 24 days [out at sea]”I didn’t have much to make,” he said, “but just a bottle of ketchup…garlic seasoning and a bottle of Maggi.”
He also tried eating seaweed, but said “it’s too strong”.
“Everything happens for a reason. Ketchup… has vitamins,” he said. “…my body was still fine.”
The reporter François spoke to in the video is also the first person he spoke to from the house where he was rescued. He was the only person from the island he could contact, he said, and he asked an EmoNews journalist to tell his family he was okay.
At the time of the interview, François said people had told him about Heinz’s search for him, but the company had not contacted him directly. But he said he would welcome contact.
He said, “I don’t know what to think.” “I lost everything I had on the boat.”
Haynes watched the video and commented.
Unbelievable, they said. “We’ve jumped to your DMs – let’s get Elvis his boat!”
A spokesperson for Heinz said François told the company “he thinks it’s really cool to see something like this happen to him.”
Heinz did not reveal details about the type of boat they would give François.
in video Posted on EmoNews’ Facebook page with Flow, the telecommunications provider in Dominica, François was presented with a new phone and asked about his experience. The first question he was asked was, “How do you ration ketchup?”
“[I was] I think about what I can use to make a meal… I’ve been making it three times a day.”
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