Shelby Talcott | Contributor
Amanda Eller, 35, was found alive on Friday after spending 17 days missing following a hike in the Makawao Forest Reserve on the island of Maui.
Following her disappearance on May 8, rescuers began to search the forest. She was reported missing on May 9, and her car was found in a parking lot at the reserve when a joint search and rescue effort by multiple agencies began, CNN reported.
Maui Police and Fire eventually called off the search, and Eller’s friends and family then hired a private helicopter that was paid for through donations on a GoFundMe page, People said.
Eller was found on Friday when that same helicopter spotted her between two waterfalls, shoe-less and waving her arms. Javier Cantellops, one of the men responsible for finding her, said she had lost about 15 pounds, CNN reported. (RELATED: Hiker Saved From Mountain Lion By Bear He ‘Befriended’)
“We all look to our right … and out of the woodwork, man, you see Amanda Eller, my friend, coming out, waving her hands,” Cantellops said according to CNN. “It was unbelievable, dude, and we of course lost it.”
“I was crying tears of joy,” Eller’s mother said to KHON 2. “I’m just so incredibly grateful to have my girl home.”
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