Maui News

Amanda Eller Press Conference – May 28, 2019

May 28, 2019, 9:38 AM HST
* Updated May 28, 5:13 PM
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By Wendy Osher

The family of Amanda Eller is holding a press conference today.
*Our live stream begins at 10 a.m.

https://www.facebook.com/mauinow/videos/335550770460659

 

Eller was found alive on Friday, May 24, after an extensive search that gained national attention.  The search lasted for more than two weeks in the Makawao Forest Reserve and surrounding area.  Eller was located on Friday afternoon in the Haʻikū forest in a deep ravine above Twin Falls, after spending 17 days lost, from May 8 to 24, 2019. Over two weeks, volunteers logged thousands of hours in the search to find the missing yoga instructor and physical therapist.

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Amanda Eller press conference 5.28.19. Background photo credit: Debra Lordan for Maui Now.

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She appeared on Saturday via a video that was filmed from her hospital bed and distributed to media via Facebook. In the video, she said “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.  I wasn’t going to take the easy way out, even thought that meant more suffering in me, for myself.”

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Her doctor (Dr. Zora Bulatovic) and mother (Julia Eller) addressed the public during an earlier press conference held on Saturday before Amanda was discharged on Saturday night, May 25.

She spent just over 24 hours at the Maui Memorial Medical Center for treatment of a fracture, sun exposure and a skin infection.  A party was held on Monday for volunteers who helped with the search effort.  Amanda spoke briefly during that event.

*Below is video from a party held for volunteers on Monday in Pāʻia.

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https://www.facebook.com/mauinow/videos/454148212018942/

In a wheelchair due to injuries she sustained during her 17 days in the wilds of Upcountry Maui, Amanda Eller arrived at her celebratory party on the afternoon, of Monday, May 28, a Memorial Day that will live in the hearts of those who attended and many around the world who followed her story since May 8, the day she became disoriented and lost in the Makawao Forest Reserve.

The all-day party was held at the Surf Club in Pa‘ia on Maui’s north shore, part of the Pa‘ia Inn property owned by Michael Baskin, who also provided accommodations for some members of the Eller family.

Volunteers, family and friends enjoyed free food and beverages and an ocean view while awaiting the arrival of Amanda.

Hugs, smiles, laughter and tears were the language of the day as volunteers celebrated the end of a successful search with the Eller family and each other.

A line of volunteers and friends organically formed, leading to Amanda who was sitting to the side of the property, in the shade with boyfriend Ben Konkol.

She seemed overwhelmed by the attention but graciously accepted hugs, kisses and gifts from old friends and hundreds of new friends, some of whom she never met before.

Although Eller will answer questions Tuesday at a press conference with her family, in a last-minute decision, she spoke to the group of volunteers who helped find her.

“I didn’t know what I was doing,” said Amanda Eller, who was lost in the woods for 17 days, “I didn’t know what. I was getting closer. The only thing I had was trust. I didn’t have a compass, a phone, a shirt.”

“I’m just the girl that got lost in the woods,” said Eller. “You guys like showed up hard. This is like true aloha. I’ve lived here for four years, and never experienced anything. Life. It’s just the community is just showing up with so much frickin’ heart and so much passion. These guys were not gonna give up on me!”

“It’s not material possessions,” Eller explained. “It’s not power. It’s not money. It’s this. It’s relationships. It’s being able to look at each other in the eye, and give each other a hug to a stranger because that’s your family.”

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*Maui Now’s Debra Lordan contributed to this report.

Amanda Eller Thank you party. PC: Debra Lordan

Amanda Eller with Javier Cantellops at Monday’s Thank you party. PC: Debra Lordan

Amanda Eller with Javier Cantellops at Monday’s Thank you party. PC: Debra Lordan

Amanda Eller Thank you party. PC: Debra Lordan

Amanda Eller Thank you party. PC: Debra Lordan

Amanda Eller Thank you party. PC: Debra Lordan

Elena Pray and Chris Berquist at the Amanda Eller Thank you party. PC: Debra Lordan

Julia Eller and Chris Berquist at the Amanda Eller Thank you party. PC: Debra Lordan

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