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Rescued Hawaii Hiker Apologizes For 'Irresponsibility': 'I Was Naive'

Amanda Eller was found alive in a Maui forest after vanishing for more than two weeks in May.

Amanda Eller, the Hawaii hiker who was found alive after vanishing for more than two weeks in a Maui forest, apologized for what she called her irresponsibility in becoming lost last month.

In a taped statement posted on Facebook Friday night, Eller, a 35-year-old yoga instructor and physical therapist, said she never expected to become disoriented after pausing on her run/hike to meditate on May 8, and was totally sober when it occurred. 

“There were not any drugs taken at all,” she said. “I was not under the influence of anything, just complete sobriety and clarity.”

Eller said she initially set out on a run so did not bring her cellphone. After encountering some fallen trees, she decided to hike. After sitting on a tree for a moment of quiet in the Makawao Forest Reserve, Eller said, she could not locate the path that would take her back to her car and she became frustrated and confused. 

“Had I had my cellphone with me, that would not have been the case,” she added. “So that was my irresponsibility and for that I apologize.”

Just one day after her May 24 rescue, Eller had initially described the event as a “significant spiritual journey” in an optimistic statement filled with personal reflection.

Now, she said, she wants to clarify the comment, stressing that she did not wish to jeopardize the safety of those who searched for her in a relentless effort that included volunteers, dogs, drones and helicopters.

“That day I never intended to go on any spiritual journey, spiritual experience ― it was simply just a hike through the woods and I had every intention that day to make it back to my car quickly,” she said. “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. I want to apologize for putting anybody in harm’s way, for any kind of rescue efforts that people feel were unnecessary.”

Eller later noted that she should have focused more of her statement on “the logistics of getting lost” rather than the meaning she attempted to derive from the situation.

“I was naive,” she said. 

Eller was found by rescuers in a helicopter who spotted her in a ravine surrounded by densely wooded terrain. She had suffered slight injuries and was still wearing the same athletic leggings and tank top in which she had been last seen during a trip to a local grocery store.

On May 20, another Hawaii hiker was also reported missing in Maui but was found dead just over a week later.

The family of 35-year-old Noah “Kekai” Mina announced the news in a May 29 Facebook post.

“We are so very sorry that Kekai has passed from this realm, he meant the world to us as a son, brother and friend,” it read.

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