Yoga instructor 'chose life' despite wanting to give up after 16 days in forest

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A yoga instructor miraculously saved after she went missing in the Hawaii forest for more than two weeks has told how she “chose life” over death despite wanting to give up.

Seventeen days after disappearing while hiking, Amanda Eller is now recovering after surviving by eating plants.

In a Facebook video, the 35-year-old told how she often found herself struggling to carry on as she was continuously overwhelmed by fear while out in the woods.

“The last 17 days of my life have been the toughest days [of my] life, and it’s been a really significant spiritual journey that I was guided on,” said Amanda from her bed at the Maui Memorial Medical Centre , with boyfriend Benjamin Konkol at her side.

“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.”

Amanda Eller spoke about her ordeal in a tearful Facebook video

Amanda spoke from her bed at the Maui Memorial Medical Centre

 

Amanda thanked the local Maui community for coming together to help her make it “out of the woods, alive.”

She added: “Seeing the way that the community of Maui came together. Just under the idea of helping one person make it out of the woods alive, just warms my heart.

“And just seeing the power of prayer and the power of love when everybody combines their efforts is incredible. It could move mountains.”

She spoke about the fear she felt

Amanda was first reported missing on May 8

 

Amanda, who was wearing just a thin top, a sports bra and a pair of yoga pants went missing on May 8 after leaving her phone behind while hiking in the Makawao Forest Reserve trail in Maui.

She was found on Friday evening around four miles from where she had left her car after helicopter search crews said they made eye contact with her after spotting her lying in a stream.

A video showed the moment she was airlifted to safety.

Amanda survived on water and plants for 16 days

Amanda and one of her rescuers Javier Cantellops pose for a selfie

A photo shared of her injuries showed severely swollen and bruised feet and ankles.

Dr Zora Bulatovic from the medical centre said she had been resourceful, especially considering a patient would typically be dehydrated after a similar experience.

“She was able to manage to stay hydrated with the river water and eating fresh fruit from the trees,” Bulatovic said.

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