Hiker missing for more than 2 weeks in Hawaii found alive
A 35-year-old woman who went missing while hiking on Maui more than two weeks ago has been found alive.
The news was officially reported late Friday afternoon on the Findamanda page on Facebook, which is run by friends and family members.
A short time after she was found, Amanda Eller was reportedly flown by helicopter to the Maui Memorial Medical Center and has since been reunited with her family.
Considering she was last seen 17 days ago, family members said Friday evening that Eller appeared to be in remarkably good shape: she did not have any broken bones and was ‘very alert and very aware,’ though she did suffer from some abrasions and severe sun exposure.
“I think she took a good fall. They found her in a deep ravine, basically unable to get out, as I understand it,” said John Eller, Amanda’s father, in an interview with Maui 24/7. “The rescuers had to be airlifted out as well, because it was so tumultuous.”
Sources familiar with the search for Eller tell Hawaii News Now that she was spotted Friday afternoon by a helicopter pilot who had been contracted by her family to continue their search.
John Eller later revealed the identity of one of the men who spotted Amanda from the air as Javier Cantellops, the co-owner of a diving company on the Valley Isle.
Jubilant videos posted to Cantellops’ personal Facebook page appear to confirm his role in the rescue, and he’s believed to have taken the first photo of Amanda on Friday that was posted to social media, confirming that she was still alive.
It’s been an incredibly trying two weeks for friends and family members of Eller, who was last seen on surveillance video in the Haiku Market that was taken around 10 a.m. on the morning of May 8.
Her boyfriend reported her missing on May 9, the same day her car and cell phone were found in the parking lot of the Kahakapao Loop Trail of the Makawao Forest Reserve. She was found roughly four miles from that parking lot, authorities said.
The joy her loved ones felt Friday at the news Amanda had been found was overwhelming.
“Elated. Excited. Extatic,” said Julia Eller, Amanda’s mother. “I can’t even put it into words. I’m so incredible grateful.”
As word of her discovery spread across Maui, searchers gleefully scribbled messages that read “FOUND ALIVE!” on the posters that had been publicizing her disappearance.
Sarah Haynes, one of the volunteers who organized the search for Amanda Eller, wrote on Facebook that Eller was able to wave down a helicopter from a creek bed between two waterfalls.
“She is just as strong as we always said she would be,” wrote Haynes. “We knew she could make it this long."