Yoga instructor lost for 16 days in Hawaii ate moths and berries to survive

Julie Allen
Amanda Eller speaks from her hospital bed at Maui Memorial Medical Center in Hawaii, May 25, 2019 - SARAH HAYNES - FINDAMANDA

A yoga instructor who was lost for more than two weeks in the wilds of Hawaii 'ate moths' as she battled to survive.

Amanda Eller, 35, spoke for the first time this weekend about her ordeal, saying she almost gave up deep in the jungle. 

Miss Eller spent 16 days wondering the Makawao Forest Reserve on the island of Maui after becoming lost during what was meant to be a quick three-mile hike. So quick, in fact, that she had left her mobile phone and water battle behind in her car.

Speaking to the New York Times on Saturday, 24 hours after she was spotted by a search helicopter hired by her frantic parents, she said from her hospital bed: “I wanted to give up. ”But the only option I had was life or death. ”I heard this voice that said, ‘If you want to live, keep going.”

After several days, tracking in an area inahabited by wild boars, she fell twenty feet into a deep ravine and fractured her leg. Weak and injured, she began to crawl instead of walk. ”I was getting so skinny that I was really starting to doubt if I could survive.”  

Julia Eller, her relieved mother, told local news outlets that wild berries and even a few moths were all that sustained her. She tried to catch some crawfish but was ”not very successful.”

Eller smiles surrounded by her rescuers  Credit: AFP

Mrs Eller added: ”She lost quite a bit of weight, as you can imagine, being lost for that amount of time. “But she was able to survive it. She had the right skills and did the right things to buy time so that we had a chance to find her.”

One night, Miss Eller took shelter in a boar’s den.  She covered herself in leaves and mud to stay warm. On the 17th day of her disappearance, she was spotted by an elated rescuer 4 miles away from the original search area.

The local fire crew went in to retrieve her. She was sunburnt and malnourished. ”I looked up and they were right on top of me,” said Miss Eller of the moment she saw the helicopter. “I was like, ‘Oh my God,’ and I just broke down and started bawling.”