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By Minyvonne Burke
Amanda Eller, the hiker who was rescued after being lost for 17 days in a Hawaiian forest, posted a Facebook video apologizing and clarifying comments she made about her incident being a spiritual journey.
In a seven-minute long video posted Friday night, Eller, whose legs wrapped in bandages from injuries suffered in the woods, said she wanted to “stay out of the limelight” after the rescue, but felt she needed to clarify some “misunderstandings.”
“I should have spent more time in the beginning explaining the logistics of getting lost versus the messages that I tried to pull from the overall experience,” she said.
In an interview this week with media, Eller said her journey “was extremely spiritual for me, and I never felt alone, and I never felt fearful.”
Eller said in her Facebook video that she believes her comments “bypassed” what really happened during the more than two weeks she said she had to eat berries and moths and drink river water in the Makawao Forest in North Maui.
The 35-year-old yoga instructor and physical therapist said she went on what she thought would be a three-mile hike on May 8 in the forest, but got disoriented after stopping to rest.
Eller, who left her cellphone and a water bottle in her car, said she spent hours trying to find her way back to her vehicle but didn’t realize she was going in the wrong direction.
She was reported missing on May 9 by her boyfriend, Benjamin Konkol. She was rescued by a helicopter crew on May 24.
In her Facebook video, Eller said she acted “irresponsibly” by leaving her cellphone and water in her car and apologized for putting rescuers’ lives at risk.
“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,” she said.
“I want to apologize for putting anyone in harm’s way,” she said.
Eller said she did find the “silver lining” in her situation and hopes her experience makes hikers “very aware of the preparation that they need when they choose to explore Maui.”