"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," Hawaii yoga instructor Amanda Eller, who went missing over two weeks ago and was found alive Friday, said in a Facebook video, per NBC News.
She shared her experiences from her bed at Maui Memorial Medical Center where she was recovering from an orthopedic fracture, burns, and a skin infection that she sustained while she was missing in the forest. She has since been released from the hospital.
"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," Eller said. "And I chose life. I wasn’t going to take the easy way out.”
Eller only intended to be gone for a three-mile hike — which she went on without her wallet and phone. According to her mother Julia Eller, she became disoriented after sitting on a log to rest. "When she got up she was disoriented and followed her instincts to get back to her car — and she was going in the wrong direction," Julia Eller said at a press conference.
“The whole time I was going deeper into the jungle, even though I thought I was going back where I came from,” Amanda Eller told The New York Times.
Trying to find her way back, she hurt herself when she fell 20 feet off a cliff and later lost her shoes in a flash flood. Due to her injuries, she eventually had to crawl instead of walk. She lived off the land to survive, drinking water from the river and eating whatever she could find including wild strawberry guavas, plants she could not identify, and moths that landed on her body. At night, she covered herself in ferns or slept in the mud to stay warm, and once even slept in the den of a wild boar.
Eller survived, but another hiker in Maui is still missing. Police are still searching for Noah Mina, a 35-year-old man who has now been missing for six days. Mina was last spotted hiking in a forest in Maui County. According to a Facebook post by Maui 24/7, Mina was hiking in the area of Kapilau Ridge Trail in Wailuku. Mina’s family reportedly issued a statement asking the public to refrain from participating in the search because of “treacherous and dangerous conditions.”