Julia Eller, mother of Amanda Eller, speaks during a news conference about the rescue of Amanda Eller on Saturday, May 25, 2019 in Wailuku Maui. The Maui News reported Friday Amanda Eller was found injured in the Makawao Forest Reserve. Family spokeswoman Sarah Haynes confirmed she spoke with Eller’s father John. Eller was airlifted to safety. (Bryan Berkowitz/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

Hawaii woman rescued from forest told self not to give up

Eller’s parents offered a $10,000 reward to encourage people to find her

A Hawaii woman who was found alive in a forest on Maui island after going missing more than two weeks ago said she at times struggled not to give up.

Amanda Eller told the New York Times that despite these moments, she told herself “the only option I had was life or death.”

“I heard this voice that said, ‘If you want to live, keep going.’ And as soon as I would doubt my intuition and try to go another way than where it was telling me, something would stop me, a branch would fall on me, I’d stub my toe, or I’d trip,” said Eller, 35, a physical therapist and yoga instructor. “So I was like, ‘OK, there is only one way to go.’ “

Eller was found injured Friday in the Makawao Forest Reserve.

READ MORE: Hawaii woman missing for 2 weeks rescued from Maui forest

The physical therapist from the Maui town of Haiku went missing on May 8. Her white Toyota RAV4 was found in the forest parking lot with her phone and wallet inside.

Hundreds of volunteers searched for her. Eller’s parents offered a $10,000 reward to encourage people to find her.

Eller told the Times that she had intended to go on a short trail walk. She went off the path at one point to rest, and when she resumed hiking, she got turned around.

“I wanted to go back the way I’d come, but my gut was leading me another way — and I have a very strong gut instinct,” Eller said. “So, I said, my car is this way and I’m just going to keep going until I reach it.”

She said she kept trying to get back to her car but wound up going deeper into the jungle.

During her ordeal, she fell off a cliff, which led her to fracture her leg and tear the meniscus in her knee, a friend, Katie York, told the Times.

Finally, after 17 days of wandering, she saw a helicopter that had been sent to find her.

“I looked up and they were right on top of me,” Eller told the Times. “I was like, ‘Oh my God,’ and I just broke down and started bawling.”

Javier Cantellops said he was searching for Eller from a helicopter along with Chris Berquist and Troy Helmers when they spotted her about 3:45 p.m. Friday near the Kailua reservoir, according to Maui Police Department spokesman Lt. Gregg Okamoto and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Cantellops told the newspaper that she was in the bed of a creek with waterfalls on either side.

He told CNN he saw Eller waving her hands at the helicopter.

“It was unbelievable, dude,” Cantellops said. “Seeing her for the first time in a long time was just unbelievable. It was nothing short of elation.”

Eller was in an area with thick vegetation, he said. “That vegetation is so thick, it’s a miracle that we saw her,” Cantellops told CNN.

The Maui Fire Department brought Eller to a hospital for evaluation, Okamoto said in a statement.

Her mother, Julia, told the Maui News that Amanda Eller survived by staying near a water source and eating wild raspberries and strawberry guavas. She even ate a couple of moths, Julia Eller said.

Her daughter tried to catch some crawfish, but she was “not very successful,” Julia Eller said.

“She lost quite a bit of weight, as you can imagine, being lost for that amount of time,” Julia Eller said. “But she was able to survive it. She had the right skills and did the right things to buy time so that we had a chance to find her.”

Amanda Eller suffered a leg fracture, abrasions on her ankles and a severe sunburn, but Julia Eller told the Maui News that her daughter’s spirits were good.

“And all of those things are treatable,” Julia Eller said.

___

The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nelson Leafs lose to Beaver Valley, will face Spokane in playoffs

Reid Wilson also finished the regular season third overall in scoring

Adapting to love along the Columbia River

One man starts a GoFundme to help his partner with health costs caused on the trip where they met

West Kootenay SPCA hopes you’ll have a heart for Cupid

Cat who tangled with a bobcat seeking a permanent home

Leafs, Nitehawks to decide division title Saturday

The regular season ends in Nelson with both teams tied on points

Nelson Nordic Ski Club fundraising for new groomer

The club’s current machine is beginning to break down

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

Most Read