Hiker in Maui Found Alive After 2 Weeks
Amanda Eller, a 35-year-old yoga instructor who had been missing for over two weeks in the Makawao Forest Reserve on Maui, Hawaii, has miraculously been found safe.
On Friday evening, helicopter search crews spotted Amanda Eller lying in a stream bed in good condition.
‘THEY DID IT!!! #findamanda Amanda Eller has been found alive! After 17 days lost in the steep jungles of East Maui, the never-ending determination & steadfast faith of THESE and HUNDREDS of volunteer searchers paid off!‘ a volunteer tweeted.
‘We found her in a stream bed, she was waving up at us while we were in the helicopter, and we got her out nice and safe,‘ Chris Berquist told ABC News.
‘She was not injured. She has a little bit of exposure from the sun, a little bit of sunburn. She lost her shoes a few days in. But no injuries.‘
According to family friend Sarah Haynes, Eller had survived the 17 day ordeal off of water and plants.
As soon as they got her into the helicopter she was able to speak to her father and give her family the much needed relief of their daughter being found alive.
‘She was very alert, she knew her father’s phone number, she knew who she was, where she was, knew exactly how long she had been out there – very surprised to see us,‘ Berquist told ABC.
Last week, Eller’s boyfriend, Benjamin Konkol, said he wasn’t giving up hope because he believed she was still in the forest and sure enough, he was right!
Authorities also released surveillance footage last week that showed Eller wearing workout gear, stopping at the Ha’iku Post Office to mail a Mother’s Day package and going to a store to buy water and energy bars on the morning that she went missing.
Eller, who is originally from Maryland, works as a physical therapist and yoga instructor. She lives and practices in Haiku.
Her Toyota RAV4 was found by police in a nearby parking lot after she was reported missing. They also found her cellphone and wallet raising concerns within the family that she may have been abducted.
Eller’s parents initially offered a $10,000 reward for tips that help bring the missing hiker home. It was raised to $50,000 earlier on Friday.
Her mother, Julia, also flew into Maui from her home in North Carolina to help with the search a little over a week ago. At the time she told KITV4: ‘This a mother’s worst nightmare and it has been an emotional roller-coaster.
‘I’ve tried to stay positive. If I let myself get mired in self pity of how terrible this is, I can’t help her if I’m caught up in that.
‘She is an inspiration to me, particularly since I’ve been on my own personal journey lately.’
During their initial investigation, police towed Eller’s car away from the scene to dust for fingerprints in hopes it would shed light on what happened.
At the time, they found her car key hidden under the driver’s side front tire.