Yoga Teacher Found Alive After 17 Days Lost in Hawaii Forest

By Reuters

Rescuers in Hawaii have found a yoga instructor who went missing for 17 days while hiking in a forest reserve and survived by drinking from streams and eating plants.

Amanda Eller, 35, went hiking in Maui’s Makawao Forest Reserve on May 8 but became lost when she walked deeper in the reserve, which covers more than 2,000 acres, instead of heading back to her car as she believed.

Rescuers in a helicopter hired by her family spotted Eller on Friday afternoon in a ravine by a waterfall, miles from her vehicle.

“Sure enough, God willing, she was right there,” Javier Canetellops, a search coordinator who was in the helicopter, told reporters. “Unbelievable.”

Eller, who also works as a physical therapist, was malnourished, shoe-less, and had a broken leg and torn meniscus in her knee, as well as sunburn and scrapes. She was airlifted to a hospital and expected to make a full recovery.

Friends had launched a “Find Amanda” campaign on Facebook, and just an hour before she was rescued they offered a $50,000 reward for information. Volunteers spent days scouring the thick forest around the trailhead where she parked.

yoga instructor
Amanda Eller, a yoga instructor who went missing for 17 days while hiking in Maui’s Makawao Forest Reserve, poses for a photo from her hospital bed with her peers at Maui Memorial Medical Center in Hawaii, U.S., after she was rescued during a search operation, on May 25, 2019. (SARAH HAYNES Ð FINDAMANDA/via REUTERS)

“Elated. Excited. Ecstatic,” Eller’s mother, Julia, told NBC News affiliate KHNL in Honolulu. “I can’t even put it into words I’m so incredibly grateful.”

By Daniel Wallis