Yoga Teacher Apologizes After Disappearing in Hawaii Forest for 17 Days: 'I Was Irresponsible'
After her 17-day disappearance in the Makawao Forest Reserve in Maui, Hawaii, Amanda Eller is apologizing for being “irresponsible.”
In a seven-minute video uploaded on Facebook, the yoga instructor, 35, described herself as an ill-prepared hiker when she recalled how she got lost in the forest.
“I wanted to stay out of the limelight but feel I need to make a statement to clear up some misunderstandings,” the video began, with Amanda resting on a couch and showing her injured, bandaged legs.
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“It was never my intention, through any of this, to put anybody in harm’s way, to create a rescue effort out of my being lost in the woods,” she later said in the video.
“I just want to apologize for any kind of rescue efforts people feel were unnecessary. I apologize and I also thank every single person that showed up, boots on the ground, to try and help in finding me… I’m in such awe and gratitude of all of the people that helped me find my way back to my family.”
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On May 8, Eller decided to go on a three-mile run in the woods, choosing to leave her phone behind. She clarified that while running, she noticed many trees were knocked down, so she decided to hike instead. Halfway through her hike, about a mile-and-a-half in, Eller sat down on a tree to meditate.
“There were not any drugs taken, at all. I was not under the influence of anything, just complete sobriety and clarity,” Eller explained. “And after meditating I tried to return to my car and I couldn’t find that path that led me to that spot.”
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Eller also recalled spending hours searching the area for her way back to her car before becoming disoriented by her surroundings. Frustrated by the situation, she remembered deciding to pick a direction to go, in hopes that it would lead her back.
Unfortunately, it was not the direction she needed to take, only causing her to become more lost.
“I realize that I was irresponsible, that I should have had my cellphone with me, that I should have had some water with me, some kind of preparatory tools that you bring with you when you go hiking,” Eller said.
Seventeen days after she became lost, a rescue team in a helicopter found her on May 24, injured and dehydrated, near a waterfall. She was then transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center and has since been released.
Eller implied in her video that some of her rhetoric surrounding her experience has left many wondering if she purposefully went into the woods for a “spiritual” experience. She insisted that was not the case.
“I understand that my comments earlier on about this being a spiritual journey may have bypassed the details of what really happened and I’d like to clarify that I did, at the end of this experience of mine, find the silver lining,” she clarified. “But this was never intentional and I did not set out that day on a spiritual journey.”