Yoga Teacher 'Chose Life' While Lost in Hawaii for 2 Weeks

Amanda Eller spoke from her hospital bed about being rescued after two weeks lost in the Hawaiian wilderness.
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The young yoga teacher who vanished while hiking in Maui is in tears after being rescued more than two weeks later, healing from the harrowing journey that she says made her choose life over death.

Amanda Eller, 35, opened up in an emotional video posted to the Facebook page that provided people updates on her disappearance. From her hospital bed with loved ones by her side, Eller told viewers she wasn't about to "take the easy way out" while wandering the Hawaiian wilderness.

"There were times of total fear and loss and wanting to give up, and it did come down to life and death. And I had to choose. And I chose life. ... Even though that meant more suffering and pain for myself," Eller said.

She said the last 17 days were "the toughest days of my life," and that it had been a "really significant journey that I was guided on."

Eller thanked those who helped in the efforts to find her, as well as the community of Maui that came together to find her.

"Just the idea of helping one person make it out of the woods alive, it just warms my heart," Eller said.

Eller was first reported missing May 9 after she went on a hike in Makawao Forest Reserve in Maui. She was discovered Friday afternoon in a deep ravine, according to a post on the Facebook page.

"She got lost and was stuck and slightly injured in the forest- way way out," the post read. "... Between two waterfalls down a deep ravine in a creek bed. 

She was found by lead searchers Chris Berquist and Javier Cantellops, who heard her calling them from the ravine. Berquist said she was in shockingly good shape.

"She was very alert, she knew her father's phone number, she knew who she was, where she was, knew exactly how long she had been out there — very surprised to see us," Berquist told ABC News. "I've never felt something quite that overpowering."

In a happy press conference, her father, John Eller, said he is thrilled Amanda was found alive.

“A lot of tears,” John said of the moment he heard she'd been found. “It looks like she lost a little weight, got a really good suntan. Sun took its toll.

"It was a rough journey. It was her mental strength and fortitude, her belief in herself that kept her at it.”


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