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Yoga Coach Who Disappeared in a Forest for 17 Days 'Chose Life' despite 'Wanting to Give Up'

Bettina Dizon
May 28, 2019
12:11 A.M.
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Amanda Eller was interviewed about her excruciating experience being lost in the forest for 17 days but revealed she did not give up and instead ‘chose life” over death.


35-year-old Amanda Eller is a yoga instructor who went on a trail at the Makawao Forest Reserve in Maui on May 8 and disappeared for 17 days. After she was found and admitted in a local hospital, the survivor shared her 17-day encounter out in the wild.

“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,” Eller 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.”


The 35-year-old expressed her sentiments over the Maui community helping her make it out of the wilderness alive, despite having been missing for over a week.

“Seeing the power of prayer and the power of love when everybody combines their efforts is incredible. It could move mountains,” she added.

Rescuers hired by her family found Eller on Friday, deep in a forest, after days of extensive searching. A Facebook page, AmandaEllersMissing, was created to aid the search and post updates on Ellers status.


Eller came home with bruised and swollen feet and ankles, among other injuries, which the doctors diagnosed as orthopedic fracture and burns. She is still recovering at the Maui Memorial Medical Center, under the care of her family and boyfriend, Benjamin Konkol.

Konkol was the last to see Amanda alive before her disappearance. Hence, speculation rose pointing him as a prime suspect, yet Eller’s family believed otherwise.


“I was the last person to see her, and it was Wednesday morning before I went to work. She really likes to be alone in nature too… So it’s not unlike her to do that,” Konkol told the press on Sunday.

The Eller’s have high regard for Konkol and believe that he had nothing to do with their daughter’s disappearance. They see him as a “very sweet person” who is in a “loving relationship” with Eller.