Woman Missing for 16 Days Found Alive in Forest with Burns to Feet and Ankles

'She just talked to her father on the phone. Amanda Eller is ALIVE!'


The thought of getting lost in an unknown and scary place is beyond terrifying itself. So when 35-year-old physical therapist and yoga instructor Amanda Eller was reported missing after she wandered into the Hawaii wilderness, everyone was worried sick for her safety and her fate. 

The search was on for 16 days when the woman was spotted from the air. 

The person reporting her missing was Eller’s boyfriend, Benjamin Konkol. He said how he last saw her on May 8 when she went hiking. After she didn’t get home that night, he alerted the authorities. 

“She’s my soulmate, she’s the love of my life and I feel that she’s still out there,” Konkol said during a May 16 interview with ABC News.

“I’d really like to stop spending my evenings alone and have my love back.”

The rescue teams were looking for Eller tirelessly and her family and friends never lost hope that she’s there somewhere, waiting for someone to spot her. 

“We found her in a stream bed, she was waving up at us while we were in the helicopter, and we got her out nice and safe,” Berquist told ABC News Radio on May 24.

“She was not injured. She has a little bit of exposure from the sun, a little bit of sunburn. She lost her shoes a few days in. But no injuries.”

The injuries Eller sustained were minor, knowing how long she was in the wilderness all by herself. 

“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, the person who spotted her said.

“I’ve never felt something quite that overpowering.”

Rescuers took her out of that place by air lifting her, after which she was rushed to Maui Memorial Medical Center. She was in a good physical and mental condition. 

“I think she took a good fall. They found her in a deep ravine, basically unable to get out, as I understand it,” John Eller, Amanda’s father, told KGMB/KHNL.

“The rescuers had to be airlifted out as well, because it was so tumultuous.”

WARNING: The following image my be disturbing to some viewers.

Julia, Eller’s mom, couldn’t wait to see and embrace her daughter. She received the news about Amanda’s rescue with excitement. She later told KHON-TV how Amanda survived by eating berries. 

“I felt in my heart she was alive,” Julia Eller said. “I never gave up hope for a minute.”

“Even though at times I would have those moments of despair, I stayed strong for her because I knew we would find her if we just stayed with the program, stayed persistent and that we would eventually find her.”

The Ellers are beyond thankful to everyone who got involved in the search and helped in locating their daughter.

“The Maui community here — caring and helping in the search,” Julia Eller said, “we couldn’t have done it without every person in so many ways.”