Mother: Lost hiker ‘couldn’t go forward and she couldn’t go back’ | News, Sports, Jobs


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Haiku resident Amanda Eller is shown Friday after being found by searchers near the Kailua depot in remote Haiku.

WAILUKU – Hiker Amanda Eller's mother, who disappeared for more than two weeks and lived on the berries and guava in the bewildering forest on the northeast side of Maui, said her daughter will take her cell phone on future outdoor walks.

"Before her trip, she wanted to disconnect, she did not like those things", Julia Eller said on Saturday. "All those things … she has a new appreciation for She said:" I would have given anything for having my cell phone. "

Physiotherapist and yoga instructor Amanda Eller, 35, left her cell phone, keys and wallet in her white Toyota RAV4 at the "Hunters trail" The noon parking on May 8 in the Makawao Forest Reserve. She would not be seen again until Friday afternoon, when a private helicopter operated by Windward Aviation and paid for a GoFundMe page found Eller about 5 to 7 miles from where it started.

Julia Eller said that Amanda Eller, who was seen near a stream in the Kailua Reservoir area at 3:45 p.m. I was in a "critical juncture" when it was found

"She could not move forward and could not go back", Said Julia Eller. "It was a 20-foot cliff in front of her … Below that was a boxed cannon from which she could not have left.

Happy mom Julia Eller hugs Javier Cantellops during the press conference on Saturday afternoon at Maui Memorial Medical Center. Cantellops is one of the men who found Julia's daughter, Amanda.
The photo of Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER

Javier Cantellops, who helped lead the week-long volunteer search that brought together more than 1,000 people, said the terrain is advanced, even for experts.

"As an Army special operations agent, I've been in one of the most difficult terrain you can imagine, from the deserts to the mountains, to complete the jungle." Cantellops said on Saturday. "This particular area, yes, is beautiful, and has many trails made, but it also has many trails for pigs, and human, there are many streams, there are many areas that look very similar." As you walk along a path that you see perfectly clear , you turn around and the path disappears. "

During a search of Eller with two firefighters and four others, said Cantellops, the group followed the wrong path and "That's exactly what happened to Amanda."

"If I had not had my phone, GPS and compbad, I would not have known, because everything looks very similar." he said.

On May 8, said Julia Eller, Amanda Eller went for a 3-mile walk through the woods, rested on a fallen log, meditated, took a short nap and woke up. "Disorientated". At that moment, she knew that she was lost and covered the ground to return to the path and her car.

The Maui Fire Department removed Amanda Eller on Friday, after police said she was seen in the Kailua reservoir area at 3:45 p.m. Eller was taken to the Maui Memorial Medical Center, where she remains on Saturday, to receive treatment.
Troy Helmer photo

His immediate thought was, "I have to go back to my car", Father John Eller said Saturday afternoon. "When you turn around, you only go in circles. His plan was to go back to the car. As he got desperate, I'm sure his mentality changed. "

At first, Amanda Eller lost her shoes during a flash flood, her mother said. He had taken them off, the river swelled rapidly and swept them away.

For almost two and a half weeks struggling to survive, Eller found water sources and foraged for food, such as berries, guavas and several leaves, according to Julia Eller. But in many days I could not find anything to eat. In addition, Eller, who has a Ph.D. in physiotherapy, suffered a knee injury, which he tried to treat while watching her. "Body fat melts."

The nights were cold, and Eller wore a brush and anything she could find to cover herself, said Julia Eller. However, the cane grbad was uncomfortable.

Amanda Eller saw helicopters at several points and tried to point them out. "But they were moving too fast" said his father.

Dr. Zora Bulatovic, Ph.D. of Maui Memorial Medical Center serving Eller, attributed her survival to intelligence and good health. "She was well educated … She did a very good job with her background," said Dr. Zora Bulatovic. "She was able to eat appropriate things and stay hydrated."
The photo of Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER

The Maui Memorial Medical Center doctor who treated Eller attributed his survival to intelligence and good health.

"She was well educated … She did a very good job with her background." said Dr. Zora Bulatovic. "She was able to eat appropriate things and stay hydrated."

Eller suffered a fracture in the left tibia, which makes walking difficult, severe burns in the lower extremities of the sun, an infection of the skin and injuries to the legs, Bulatovic said. However, their electrolytes and hydration, which are among the highest priorities during survival, were "Incredibly great" she added.

"She was able to stay hydrated with the river water and eat fresh fruit from the trees," Said Bulatovic. "I expected to see more, I would expect to see an electrolyte imbalance and severe dehydration."

Bulatovic, Julia Eller, Cantellops and family spokeswoman Sarah Haynes spoke during a press conference at the hospital Saturday instead of Amanda Eller, who said she is not doing interviews at this time. Instead, Amanda Eller posted a Facebook message from her hospital bed on her official search page on Saturday, thanking people for their support.

Amanda Eller, accompanied by her boyfriend Benjamin Kokol, issues a statement of gratitude on her official Facebook search page on Saturday. "Seeing the way the Maui community came together … Just under the idea of ​​helping a person get out of the forest alive, it just warms my heart," he said.
Photo of Facebook Live video

"Seeing how the Maui community came together. . . . Just under the idea of ​​helping a person to leave the forest alive, it simply warms my heart. " she said. "And just seeing the power of prayer and the power of love when everyone combines their efforts is incredible. I could move mountains.

Eller remains hospitalized on Saturday, and her doctor screened a few days before her release. Intravenous antibiotics currently fight skin infection.

John Eller said his family is likely to return home in Maryland in the next few weeks, but his daughter plans to stay in Maui. After the recovery, she added, she will probably resume her physiotherapy practice and return to the patients.

"I suspect he will need some time to recover his strength" he said. "It was hard, what happened, he needs time to recover his health."

In the immediate future, said John Eller, his daughter just wants "Take a shower in your own home."

* You can contact Kehaulani Cerizo at [email protected]

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