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Rescued hiker Amanda Eller speaks from hospital bed

A woman lost for more than two weeks in a Hawaiian Forest is speaking about her experience.

35-year-old Amanda Eller had been missing for 17 days when she was discovered on Friday. Eller spoke from her hospital bed on Saturday. She says she hopes her scary experience will serve a bigger purpose.

Eller said, “The 17 days of my life have been the toughest is my life. And it’s been a really significant spiritual journey that I was guided on. There were times of total fear and loss and wanting to give up. And it did come down to life and death and I had to choose…and I chose life. I wasn’t going to take the easy way out, even though that meant more suffering and pain for myself. But this is just like a tiny little blip of my story and my life and it serves a much, much bigger purpose. And the–seeing the way that the community of Maui came together, people that know me, people that don’t know me all came together just under the idea of helping one person make it out of the woods alive…it just warms my heart and just seeing the power of prayer and the power of love when everybody combines their efforts is incredible. It can move mountains. And at some points you know I think we all thought that was lost in the world. And it’s beautiful to know that it’s not only lost but it’s just it’s so prevalent. And if we allow ourselves to tap into that side,to open our hearts to be open to one another and see each other as just like brothers and sisters instead of like somebody we should be scared of, you know… we’re helping each other, we’re all a part of the same community, we’re all part of the same purpose of being here on Earth then that’s what this was all for. This was all about us coming together for a greater purpose of community and love and appreciation for life.”

Eller vanished while on a day hike in Makawao Forest Reserve on May 8th.

A rescue team in a helicopter spotted her Friday, sunburned and smiling. They credit her survival to her resourcefulness and experience as a yoga teacher and physical therapist.

Eller says she ate fruit from trees and drank water from the river. She also fractured her lower leg and got a skin infection. No word on how long she will be in the hospital.



Amanda Gilbert

Multimedia Journalist

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