Lifestyle & Human Interest

Woman Missing for Over 2 Weeks Found Alive in Forest with Burns to Feet and Ankles


Amanda Eller, a 35-year-old physical therapist and yoga instructor who was missing in the Hawaii wilderness for more than two weeks, has been found alive.

Eller had been missing for 16 days when she was spotted from the air by a helicopter rescue team who had been tirelessly searching the area.

Eller’s boyfriend, Benjamin Konkol, reported her missing on May 9, one day after she was last seen on May 8 after reportedly going for a hike in the Makawao Forest Reserve on Maui, Hawaii.

“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.

Knifeman's Rampage Ends with 7 People Dead

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

A massive search and rescue team came together to try and locate Eller, including Chris Berquist who was in the helicopter that saw Eller waving to them from the depths of a ravine.

“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.”

Rescuers were encouraged to see Eller in such good condition after surviving more than two weeks on her own in the wilderness.

“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 said.

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

Air Force Officer Makes History at 2024 Miss America Pageant: 'The Sky Is Not the Limit'

Eller was air lifted out of the ravine and was taken to Maui Memorial Hospital for evaluation. She suffered some skin damage to her feet and legs from sun exposure, but otherwise, appeared to be in good physical 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.

Eller’s mother, Julia, rushed to the hospital to be reunited with her daughter. She told KHON-TV that Amanda survived by eating berries she found in the area and drinking water from the stream.

“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 Eller family is incredibly grateful to the community for coming together in search of Amanda, especially Troy Helmer, Javier Cantellops and Sarah Haynes who all helped spearhead the search and rescue efforts.

“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.”

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , ,
A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
Page, Arizona
Bachelor of Science in Music Education
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Lifestyle & Human Interest