Hawaii Woman Missing for 2 Weeks Rescued From Maui Forest - NBC4 Washington
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Hawaii Woman Missing for 2 Weeks Rescued From Maui Forest

Javier Cantellops said he was searching for Amanda Eller from a helicopter along with Chris Berquist and Troy Helmers when they spotted her about 3:45 p.m. near the Kailua reservoir

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Missing Hiker Found Alive in Hawaii

    Amanda Eller, a Maryland native who had been missing for 17 days in a Hawaii forest, was found alive. News4's Aimee Cho has more. (Published Saturday, May 25, 2019)

    A Hawaii woman has been found alive in a forest on Maui island after going missing more than two weeks ago.

    "The last 17 days of my life have been the toughest days [of my] life, and it's been a really significant spiritual journey that I was guided on," Amanda Eller said in a Facebook video, according to NBC News.

    "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," she said. "And I chose life."

    Eller was found injured in the Makawao Forest Reserve, the Maui News reported Friday.

    Maryland Native Missing in Hawaii

    [DC] Maryland Native Missing in Hawaii

    A desperate search is underway in Hawaii to find a missing University of Maryland graduate. Amanda Eller was last seen five days ago hiking in Maui, where she now lives. One of her closest friends told News4’s Aimee Cho they’re not giving up hope.

    (Published Monday, May 13, 2019)

    "I was crying tears of joy," Eller's mother, Julia, said. "I never gave up hope for a minute. I knew that we would find her."

    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 have searched for her since. Eller's parents had offered a $10,000 reward to encourage people to find her.

    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. 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 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.

    A photo was posted to a Facebook page tracking the search, showing a smiling Eller with what appeared to be injuries to her face and dirt on her clothing. The photo shows Eller surrounded by Cantellops, Berquist and Helmers.

    Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said he's grateful for the efforts of family, friends, volunteers and first-responders.

    "This search and rescue was truly a community collaboration of Maui County first responders, family, friends and community volunteers," Victorino said in a statement. "I extend my deepest appreciation for everyone involved in searching for and locating Amanda. Your work, determination and sacrifice has helped return her to her loving family. God bless them all."

    Watch NBC4 and get the latest news anytime, anywhere. Check here for TV listings.