Millions of people love to go hiking. For many, it is a passion. Many hikers stick to popular hiking routes. These are areas where the trail is marked, and other hikers are present. This is a safe way to hike. More experienced hikers enjoy more treacherous terrain, in highly secluded areas. This can be dangerous, but for the experienced, avid hiker, it is the only way to hike. Amanda Eller is one of these hikers.
Amanda Eller is a 35-year-old physical therapist, and she works as a yoga instructor part-time. She lives in Hawaii with her boyfriend, Benjamin Konkol. Amanda is an avid hiker. She loves to spend her free time hiking in remote Hawaiian areas. She often goes hiking for a few hours and comes home. This all changed when she left her home for a hike on May 8th.
Leaving the House
The day Amanda left to go on her hike, she gathered her gear and kissed Benjamin goodbye. The couple made plans to go to dinner that evening after Amanda got home. According to Benjamin, it was just like many other days that she left to go on a hike. Little did he know, she would not return home that evening.
Alerting the Authorities
When Amanda failed to come home that evening, Benjamin began to worry. As the hours passed, he finally decided that he needed to call for help. He contacted the authorities and told them that Amanda had left for a hike that morning, but she never returned home. It wasn’t long before a team gathered to start searching for Amanda.
Benjamin, Amanda’s mother Julia, and her friends and family were sick with worry, but they were sure that she was out there somewhere, waiting to be rescued. Benjamin says that he felt useless. The rescue team asked that Amanda’s loved ones didn’t go out looking for her, because they already had one person to search for. They didn’t want her loved ones to get lost out there also, because it would have made their jobs that much harder. According to Benjamin, the waiting was horrible.
As the days went by with no sign of Amanda, her story became national news. When ABC New interviewed Benjamin, he talked about how hard it was to be without Amanda. He said, “She’s my soulmate, she’s the love of my life. I feel that she’s still out there. I’d really like to stop spending my evenings alone and have my love back.
Finally, after 16 straight days of searching, someone spotted Amanda. The air team was flying in a helicopter trying to find signs of the young woman when they flew over a stream bed. When they looked down, they could see her waving up at the helicopter. It was very treacherous terrain, so the rescuers had to be lowered down to the site. Woman missing for 16 days found alive in forest with burns to feet and ankles.
When the rescuers reached her, they discovered that Amanda was in much better shape than they imagined. Mentally, she was doing well. She knew her name, her father’s phone number, and how she got to the ravine, she was found near. Medically, she was doing alright. She had burns to her feet because she lost her shoes days earlier. She also had burns on her ankles and showed signs of dehydration and malnutrition. The rescue team gave her food and water that she desperately needed while she was still on the ground. She was airlifted out of the area to be checked out at the hospital.
After being treated for her medical issues, Amanda was ready to talk about what happened. She explained that she fell near the ravine, and it was too deep for her to get out. She survived on the ravine water and berries that she found in the woods for 16-days. She says that she refused to give up hope.
From her hospital bed, Amanda was interviewed by FOX News. She took the opportunity to thank all of the people who put themselves in harm’s way to find her. She told the reporter that she is glad that everyone made it back safely. She took the time to also thank Benjamin, her mother, and all of her friends and family members who refused to give up hope that she would get home safely. She says that it was them that made her want to push harder to stay alive. All she wanted to do was get home to the people that she loved. She also said that she hopes other hikers learn from her mistakes, and they prepare before heading out into the forests of Maui.