Heinz Tracks Down Wayward Ketchup Sailor

Company is giving Elvis Francois, who survived at sea with ketchup, a new boat
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2023 4:12 PM CST
Updated Feb 28, 2023 7:41 AM CST
Heinz Wants to Buy a Boat for Sailor Who Survived on Ketchup
In this photo provided by Colombia's Navy press office, castaway Elvis Francois sits on board the merchant ship CMA CGM Voltario at the port of Cartagena, Colombia, Monday, Jan. 16, 2023.   (Colombian Navy press office via AP)
UPDATE Feb 28, 2023 7:41 AM CST

Heinz has found the ketchup sailor. The company was very publicly trying to track down Elvis Francois, who famously survived 24 days lost at sea with the help of ketchup for sustenance. On Monday, Heinz told CBS News it had tracked down the 47-year-old on the island of Dominica in the Caribbean and is working out the logistics of presenting him with a new boat. Heinz enlisted social media in the PR campaign, and a rep talked with Francois via Zoom.

Feb 21, 2023 4:12 PM CST

Heinz is trying to track down a sailor who survived on ketchup for 24 days to make sure he never gets lost at sea again. Dominican sailor Elvis Francois was spotted by a Colombian Navy patrol plane and rescued by a cargo ship after his boat drifted out to sea from St. Martin while he was making repairs on it. In interviews following his January rescue, the 47-year-old said he survived on nothing but ketchup and seasonings. A Heinz spokesperson tells CBS the company wants to get him a "new state-of-the-art boat," which will be "equipped with full navigational technology to avoid another disaster in the future"—but they're having trouble finding him and have launched an appeal on social media.

"You may remember Elvis Francois as the brave sailor who survived on nothing but ketchup and spices while adrift at sea for 24 days," Heinz said in an Instagram post. "Well, Heinz wants to celebrate his safe return home and help him buy a new boat ... but we can’t seem to find him. So, we’re setting this message adrift into the sea of the internet, because if anyone can help us find him, it’s you. If you or anyone you know can help us get in contact with Elvis Francois, please drop us a DM." In a subsequent post, Heinz said it had contacted the Dominican government, the Colombian navy, and "several Elvis impersonators." Commenters noted that Dominica is celebrating Carnival and suggested Heinz try reaching out again on Ash Wednesday. (More ketchup stories.)

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