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 (May 24) afternoon in a ravine by a waterfall, miles from her vehicle.
“We look and we did a double take. It was like – out of the woodwork, she comes out arms swinging,” Javier Canetellops, a search coordinator who was in the helicopter, told reporters
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.
“It’s just a miracle,” Eller’s mother, Julia, said at a news conference on Saturday (May 25). “I couldn’t be more happy and pleased.”