US Woman Vanished Hiking In Forest, Found 17 Days Later In Deep Gorge

Amanda Eller was was reported missing May 8, triggering a massive search that drew scores of volunteers after authorities scaled back their efforts.

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US Woman Vanished Hiking In Forest, Found 17 Days Later In Deep Gorge

Amanda Eller is a physical therapist and yoga instructor who lives in Hawaii.


Amanda Eller, who ventured into a dense forest in Hawaii more than two weeks ago and vanished, was found alive Friday, sunburned and smiling.

Eller, 35, a physical therapist and yoga instructor who lives in Hawaii, parked outside Makawao Forest Reserve for a hike, leaving her keys, phone and wallet behind. She was reported missing May 8, triggering a massive search that drew scores of volunteers after authorities scaled back their efforts.

The relentless operation paid off. A helicopter search team, contracted by her families, spotted her from the air four miles from her car, gaunt but alive after surviving on plants and water, a friend told KITV. She was airlifted to a hospital.

"She figured it out, she was smart, she was strong, she was prepared. We said that in the beginning and it was absolutely true," said her father John Eller, KITV reported.

Eller said his daughter "took a good fall," and got lost after looking for a way back, he told reporters outside a hospital in a video posted by Maui 24/7.

"They found her in a deep ravine, basically unable to get out, as I understand it," he said. "The rescuers had to be airlifted out as well, because it was so tumultuous."

Searchers Troy Helmer, Javier Cantellops and Chris Berquist spotted Eller from air foraging for food without shoes or socks.

"I've been looking at pictures of that girl 100 times a day. It was no mistake that it was her," Berquist said, KHON reported. "We were freaking out. We were trying not to trip over ourselves trying to get to her too fast."

Helmer told KHON that she was about 20 pounds underweight. Her father said she had abrasions and sun exposure but no broken bones. Photos posted to Facebook show her ankles swollen and legs covered in severe blisters.

Cantellops posted photos and videos of the search effort, gliding over canopies in a forest thick with creeks, ravines and brush that complicated search efforts. He took a photograph with Eller, eyes wide open and lips blistered.

"Amanda Eller you are one tough ass woman!!!" Cantellops wrote on Facebook. "We are all blown away at your barefoot resilience!!!"



(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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