Amanda Eller, who went missing on a hike in a Maui forest over two weeks ago, has been found alive by a rescue helicopter, which was flying over the area to search for the yoga instructor.
The Daily Mail says that her friends and family never gave up hope, and continued searching in the area surrounding her parked car, where she went on a hike and got lost. On Friday night, a helicopter search proved fruitful, as they spotted Eller waving to them from a heavily wooded area near a waterfall, four miles from where they found her car.
A volunteer tweeted that Eller had been found and thanked the tireless volunteers.
“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!”
Eller, 35, was last seen on May 8, when she left her phone in her car and went hiking in the Makawao Forest Reserve trail in Maui. She explained that she survived on plants and fruit in the area, and luckily had plenty of fresh water.
One of Eller’s rescuers, Javier Cantellops, shared the story on CNN this morning, recounting the moment when he spotted her from the helicopter next to a ravine.
“We all look to our right… and out of the woodwork, man, you see Amanda Eller, my friend, coming out, waving her hands. It was unbelievable, dude. And we all of course lose it.”
CNN affiliate KHON shared footage of Eller’s rescue. She hitched a ride on a basket attached to the helicopter and was taken to a hospital. Her mother, Julia Eller, says that Amanda is in “surprisingly good shape,” only suffering from some sunburn, weight loss, and a leg fracture and rash, which will require some additional treatment.
Her mother says that she always believed that her daughter was still alive, and is thrilled to see her.
“I felt in my heart she was alive.I never gave up hope for a minute. Even though at times I would have those moments of despair, I stayed strong for her ’cause I knew we would find her if we just stayed with the program, stayed persistent and that we would eventually find her.”
Julia added that Amanda’s background as a physical therapist worked to her benefit, as she had already begun treating her own injuries while she waited for help.