- Amanda Eller, 35, was found in the Makawao Forest Reserve in Maui on Friday, 17 days after getting lost during a hike.
- Police called off a search for Eller three days after she was reported missing, but friends, family, and volunteers continued to look for her in the forest.
- During her 17-day ordeal, Eller survived by eating berries and drinking river water.
- She spoke with her rescuers at a party on Monday, and said she has “so much gratitude” for them.
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A yoga instructor who was lost in a Hawaiian jungle for 17 days thanked the men who rescued her in an emotional reunion on Monday night.
Amanda Eller, 35, was found between two waterfalls in the Makawao Forest Reserve in Maui on Friday, 17 days after getting lost during a hike.
Police called off a search for Eller three days after she was reported missing, but volunteers kept showing up to search for her.
“I just have so much gratitude and thanks for everybody showing up with the biggest hearts and the biggest generosities,” Eller told her rescuers on Monday, according to CBS News.
She spoke with her rescuers at a party on Monday, where she reunited with family and friends.
Javier Cantellops, Eller’s good friend, was part of the search team that spotted her near a waterfall.
“She’s like, ‘you never gave up on me.’ I was like, I was gonna search for you for the rest of my life!” Cantellops told CBS News.
Cantellops told “TODAY” that he and his search crew only had about five minutes worth of fuel left on their helicopter when they spotted Eller.
“That moment will live down in the depths of my soul forever,” he said. “We’re coming up this waterfall and look down and she appears out of the wood. It can only be described as magic. It was the greatest single moment of my life.”
Eller was found on Friday about four miles from where her car and mobile phone were found shortly after she was reported missing.
She had left her phone and wallet in the car because she had only planned on going on a short run in the forest reserve. But after stopping to rest and meditate, she became disoriented and lost in the forest.
To survive over the two weeks she was lost, Eller drank river water and ate raspberries, strawberry guavas, and moths that landed on her body, she told the New York Times.
According to the “TODAY” show, Eller fractured her leg and suffered a severe sunburn and leg infection in the ordeal, but is recovering.
“It did come down to life and death and I had to choose … and I chose life,” Eller said in a Facebook video on Saturday. “I wasn’t going to take the easy way out.”
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