Two weeks ago, Heinz sent out an SOS to find the sailor who endured 24 days lost at sea — eating nothing but ketchup and spices for survival.
Elvis Francois, 47, rose to fame early this year when he was rescued by the Colombian military after changes in weather carried him out to sea. All he could do was “sit down and wait” and survive off the meager amounts of food in his boat, which included “ketchup ... garlic powder and Maggi,” a brand of soup, per CBS News.
Heinz wanted to reward Francois for his epic survival at sea — but it needed to find him first. So it set out on a viral mission to track down Francois with plans to buy him a new boat.
“Help us #FindTheKetchupBoatGuy,” the Instagram message from Heinz began. “We need your help tracking down an amazing man with an amazing story. 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. 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,” read the message.
The message from Heinz sparked a viral mission to find Francois. With help from the viral search mission, Francois was found.
“The hunt is over,” a spokesperson for Heinz told CBS News on Monday. “Through the power of social media ... Elvis was located in the Caribbean on the island of Dominica.”
Heinz updated its fans with an Instagram message on Monday.
“We received thousands of likes, shares, and messages of kindness in our search to find Elvis Francois. It was an incredible group effort across six continents that led to the hundreds of articles and leads and our eventual contact with Elvis. With your help we were able to #FindTheKetchupBoatGuy,” Heinz wrote on Instagram.
Heinz is currently “working out the logistical details of gifting him his new boat,” per CBS News.
In a video interview with EmoNews shared on Facebook, Francois described himself as “quite a mysterious person” who enjoys taking risks. He claimed he tried to eat seaweed but “it was too strong.”
“Everything happens for a reason. The ketchup ... has vitamins,” he said. “... My body was still OK.”