Missing Hawaii Hiker Thanks Supporters Who Organized Search

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An American Hawaii woman has been found alive in a forest on Hawaii's Maui island after going missing more than two weeks ago.

Cantellops told CNN affiliate KHON that he saw Eller waving her hands at the helicopter.

On Friday, Javier Cantellops, a friend of Eller's, went up with other searchers in a rented helicopter to look for a place where they could access the woods where Cantellops thought Eller might be headed.

Eller suffered a leg fracture, abrasions on her ankles and a severe sunburn, but Julia Eller told the Maui News that her daughter's spirits were good.

Rescue leads Javier Cantellops, top, and Chris Berquist show some of the technology used in the search for Amana Eller in Wailuku, Maui, on 25 May.

Rescuers told KHON that Eller lost between 15 and 20 pounds (7-9 kgs) but kept herself going by staying close to a water source and eating raspberries and strawberry guavas she found in the forest.

"I have the most gratitude and respect and appreciation - I can't even put it into words - for the people that have helped me, for the people that have prayed for me, for the people that were at base camp, for the people all over the world that somehow just wanted to be a part of this for the greater good", Eller said Saturday, Hawaii News Now reported. She had conquered so much to get to this point.

Amanda Eller (second from left) with her rescuers, including Javier Cantellops (left).

Olenik said her friend always enjoyed nature and living a healthy lifestyle, but those elements of Eller's life grew tenfold after moving to Hawaii. "I felt in my heart that my daughter was alive".

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Eller told the Times that she had meant to go on a short trail walk.

Eller's family says she was "deep in a creek bed between two waterfalls".

Her family offered a $50,000 reward, up from $10,000 in the days after Eller's disappearance, and hired a helicopter crew to search for her by air.

Amanda Eller first vanished after she got injured while hiking through the forest May 8 and was reported missing the following day. With a fractured leg and no shoes, she sure wasn't going to go back.

Maui police spokesman Lt. Gregg Okamoto said that Eller was spotted near the Kailua reservoir in East Maui at about 3:45 p.m.

After the fall, she struggled to walk, Eller said. Knowing there was little she could do to help the search from so far away, Olenik spent her time sharing Eller's story and helping those who never met Eller realize that she wasn't just some missing hiker, but a loving friend and a member of the Tampa Bay community. "I told them, if she's out there, she's going to make it".

She had gotten lost after leaving the trail to rest, the New York Times said.

"She's a trouper, man; she's a real warrior", her mom said.

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