Heinz is looking for people to help the company find a treasure – but it’s not gold. After they learned that a man survived nearly a month at sea with nothing but ketchup and seasonings, the company said it wants to find him to help him buy a new boat.
But so far, they haven’t been able to find him.
In a virtual message in a bottle, the company put out a request for assistance on Instagram last week.
“To whoever finds this message, 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,” the company said.
Francois, 47, was working on his boat in St. Maarten in December when he accidentally started drifting out to sea. The weather had suddenly changed, and he said in a video released by the Colombian Navy, who rescued him, that he had lost his ability to navigate.
“I tried to [go] back to port, but I lost track because it took me a while to mount the sail and fix the sail,” he said. “…I call my friends, my coworkers. They tried to contact me, but they lost service. There was nothing else I could do than sit down and wait.”
He wrote out the word “help” on the back of his boat, and he was eventually rescued – after 24 days with nothing but “a bottle of ketchup…garlic powder and Maggi [soup].”
A few days ago, the company said its search had “reached an impasse.” So far, they said, they’ve reached out to the government of Dominica, where Francois lives, as well as the Colombian Navy to try and find out where he may be and how they can get in touch with him.
“We’re setting this message adrift into the sea of the internet, because if anyone can help us find him, it’s you,” the company said. “If you or anyone you know can help us get in contact with Elvis Francois, please drop us a DM.”
In a statement to CBS News on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Heinz said that they want to “gift” Francois a “new state-of-the-art boat.” That boat, they said, will be “equipped with full navigational technology to avoid another disaster in the future.”
They said that it’s currently an international effort, with Heinz markets “around the world” getting involved.
“We’re hoping to spread the word far and wide so Heinz can finally gift the new boat to Elvis,” the company said.