Heinz has ended their search for a sailor who survived on ketchup while he was lost at sea.
It's been nearly a month since the Colombian Navy's announcement that it had rescued a man — later identified as Elvis Francois — who went missing at sea in December 2022 and spent 24 days adrift.
After being picked up by a merchant ship, the man's sailboat — which he had to constantly drain water from to prevent sinking — was abandoned. In a video released by the naval branch, the 47-year-old man said he relied on Maggi cubes, garlic powder and a bottle of ketchup to survive.
Soon after, the iconic ketchup company asked fans to help it track down Francois to buy him a new boat.
In an Instagram post shared on Feb. 14, Heinz wrote to fans, “Help us #findtheketchupboatguy.”
The post features an image of a message in a ketchup bottle washed onto shore.
“To whoever finds this message,” the caption reads. “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. Don’t forget to share this post with all your friends so we can #FindTheKetchupBoatGuy," the post concludes.
After narrowing down its global search for Francois to the island country of Dominica, on Feb. 27, Heinz revealed that it finally tracked him down.
"Thank you, internet," the caption for the post reads. "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, leading to the hundreds of articles and leads and our eventual contact with Elvis. With your help, we were able to #FindTheKetchupBoatGuy."
In an email to TODAY.com, a Heinz spokesperson explained that "through the power of social media," Elvis was located in the Caribbean on the island of Dominica.
"Heinz was able to contact Elvis and discuss the best way to help support him and his family, the spokesperson said. Heinz and Elvis are working out the logistical details of gifting him his new boat."
Before finding him, a Heinz spokesperson told TODAY.com that the company planned to gift Francois "a new boat equipped with full navigational technology to avoid another disaster in the future."
According to the Colombian Navy, Francois was found lost at sea 120 nautical miles northwest of Puerto Bolívar, Ecuador.
In a tweet about the incident, the naval branch explained that Francoi's distresses signal was spotted from the air. The sailor had written the word “HELP” on the hull of his boat.
EDITOR'S NOTE (Feb. 27, 2023, 5:06 p.m. ET): This post has been updated to reflect that Heinz found Francois.