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.

Just Posted

Big red treble clef proposed for downtown plaza in Salmon Arm

Idea is to pay tribute to artisans in the community

Church turns welcomes solar power as educational opportunity

Panels on Salmon Arm’s First United Church expected to produce 37 per cent of power needs

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: mix of sun and clouds, chance of showers

According to Environment Canada, showers are expected across the Okanagan tomorrow

Sicamous’ first cannabis store to open June 27

High Mountain Cannabis, located on Finlayson Street, recently received their provincial licence

Seymour Arm road to remain closed until at least early next week

Mudslides close forest service road, repairs can’t be made safely until rain stops

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

Villains and Vittles serves up mix of local history, mystery and murder

Twenty-sixth year for annual dinner theatre production at RJ Haney Heritage Village

Confusion over land ownership along Okanagan River Channel

There appears to be some confusion about ownership of two of the properties Coyote Cruises uses

UPDATED: Highway 97 near Penticton reopened after serious crash

Accident closes highway in both directions

Kelowna Rocket invited to Hockey Canada National Under-17 Development Camp

The 16-year-old was selected by the Rockets 18th overall at the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

In photos: Co-op steps up for Shannon Sharp Learning Circle

Armstrong Regional Co-op donates $30,000 through

Okanagan RCMP serve up slices and support for Special Olympics B.C.

Last years inaugural campaign raised more than $12,000

Most Read