She was the epitome’ of health and fitness. It all turned into a fight for survival when Amanda Eller, 35, got lost on a hiking trail in the forest of Maui. Her fit body became worn and broken after losing her shoes from flash floods while sleeping in a wild boar’s cave. The only way to stay alive was not to give up. Eller was found last Friday, 5/24/2019, in the Makawao Forest Reserve of Maui after she went missing for 17 days.
Eller is a yoga instructor and physical therapist. Yet, what happened on a peaceful hike would challenge even the strongest of people. All it took was for her to stray off the trail for a quick rest when 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.
She remarked that right before she was found, she had resigned to the thought that this isolated jungle may be her last glimpse of earth but still prayed that somehow it wouldn’t be. A fall from a cliff left her with a broken leg, a torn meniscus, and many deep abrasions, but she was determined to survive. The nominal diet left her worrying if she could continue after a significant weight loss that left her strength-less.
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.
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.
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.
Ref. NBC/Today, nytimes.com, ktla.com
Photo courtesy of Bing via pressfrom.info.com