Yoga Teacher Who Was Found Alive in Hawaii Forest to Continue Rehab and Recovery
It has been a whirlwind month for Amanda Eller, but after spending two days recovering in the hospital, she is headed home to get back to everyday life.
Eller, 35, was discharged from the Maui Memorial Medical Center on Sunday, where she was recovering after spending 16 days lost in a Hawaii forest.
In a statement to ABC News, Michael Rembis — chief officer of Maui Medical — announced Eller’s discharge, and that she would continue her road to recovery at home.
“We are thrilled to report the great news that Amanda Eller was able to leave the hospital on her own accord to continue her rehab and recovery with family and loved ones,” Rembis said. “The staff and physicians at Maui Memorial Medical Center involved in her treatment and care are rejoicing at the miraculous news of her great outcome.”
Eller, who is a yoga teacher from Maui, went missing on May 8 while hiking in the Makawao Forest Reserve.
Her boyfriend, Ben Konkol, reported her missing the next day, and said he was the last person to see her.
“She really likes to be alone in nature, too … so it’s not unlike her to do that,” he said at a press conference. “The moment that she did not arrive home at night I knew something was wrong. It did not feel good in my body.”
Eller’s white Toyota RAV4 was found in the parking lot of the reserve on the day she was reported missing, with her phone and wallet inside.
Injured and dehydrated, Eller was spotted 16 days later deep in a forest by a group of rescuers that had been hired by her family to help track her down, according to the Facebook page launched to aid in the search.
“She got lost and was stuck and slightly injured in the forest – way way out. Somewhere way far above Twin Falls,” the post read. “Between two waterfalls down a deep ravine in a creek bed. Chris [Berquist] and Javier [Cantellops] spotted her and she spotted them, waving them down. She is being air evacuated now. She just talked to her father on the phone. Amanda Eller is ALIVE!!”
A photo shared to the page showed the extent of Eller’s injuries, including extremely swollen and bruised feet and ankles. According to her doctors, Eller suffered an orthopedic fracture and burns on her lower extremities.
After her discovery, Eller spoke out about her harrowing experience, and revealed that she had chosen life over death.
“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,” she said in a video shared on Facebook 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,” she said. “And I chose life.”
Eller 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.”
Sarah Haynes, who organized the search and ran the Find Amanda Facebook page, told PEOPLE that Eller survived on berries and guavas. Haynes said her water supply initially came from a waterfall, but that Eller stopped drinking from it after it rained to avoid run-off, which could have made her sick.