Elvis Francois
Elvis Francois, shown here being checked by a doctor after his rescue on the Caribbean Sea. Images/Colombian National Navy via AFP

Elvis Francois, a 47-year-old man from Dominica, managed to survive for 24 days at sea because of a bottle of tomato ketchup.

Francois was repairing his boat near the island of Saint Martin when his boat got pulled into the sea because of bad weather. He could not find his way home and spent weeks waiting for help to come. Had it not been for the Colombian authorities, he may not have been able to make it out alive.

The sailor was found 120 nautical miles northwest of Colombia's Puerto Bolívar after a plane spotted the word "help" engraved on the hull of a boat.

"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 in the video released by the Colombian army.

"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," added Francois recalling his struggle.

He was given medical care after being rescued and was eventually handed over to immigration authorities.

He was rescued last month but hit the headlines again after ketchup maker Heinz launched a social media search for him. Heinz appealed to social media users to help them track the man down so they could give him a new boat to celebrate his return home.

"You may remember Elvis Francois as the brave sailor who survived on nothing but ketchup and spices while adrift at sea for 24 days. Well, Heinz wants to celebrate his safe return home and help him buy a new boat... but we can't seem to find him." read a social media post by the firm.

Their appeal worked, and the internet managed to track him down. According to Business Insider, Heinz is in touch with Francois and will soon be gifting him his new boat.

In a similar incident, a Brazilian man survived 11 days in the ocean by taking refuge in a floating freezer from his boat. Romualdo Macedo Rodrigues was on a fishing trip when his boat sank in the Atlantic.

He did not know how to swim; therefore, he decided to use the freezer as a makeshift boat. He was rescued by other fishermen off the coast of Suriname 11 days later. Suriname is a country on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America. He was found 280 miles away from where he sank.