Hi Folks (and runners),
On May 8, 2019, a 35 year old woman named Amanda Eller went to the Makawao Forest Reserve hunters trail in Maui Hawaii for a short run or hike. Well as everyone knows, during her hike she veered off the trail for a bit to meditate, closed her eyes to enjoy the peace and serenity of the forest. When she was ready to head back to her car, she ended up on a different trail.
After continuing for about an hour and a half, thinking she was heading in the right direction, she became disoriented. And as we all know now, that took her on a long life or death journey in the forest and she was miraculously found alive 17 days later. All after a long intense and grueling search by local citizens which also captivated the world.
Everyone has seen and heard from Amanda. And the picture of her rescue was seen around the world. Well, this episode is going to give you an entirely new look, a different perspective into the actual search efforts from start to finish. Elana Pray,Chris Berquist and Javiar Cantellops were the core search team that was formed during the search for Amanda Eller. Chris and Javier were in the helicopter that found her and in the famous photo.
Along with hundreds of volunteers, several with special skills, these three individuals were integral to all phases of the search both at base camp and in the forest searching day after day. There is a law in Maui that the Maui Fire and Police departments can continue a search and rescue effort for 72 hours. After that they scale their involvement way down or discontinue it all together leaving it to the family, friends and volunteers to keep it going. Basically it becomes a do-it-yourself search.
Chris became the overall leader of the search after Amanda's father, John Eller asked him if he would stay through it all. He is a very intelligent, analytical, methodical professional that is extremely passionate about the outdoors. Also, Chris is very selfless, so much so, he put Amanda and the search above all else and even lost his job. Of course, another door opened for him!
Elena is a pure badass and works for Rappel Maui. She became the operations director of the search and rescue, organizing rappellers, search dogs and several other responsibilities. She assisted Chris in providing daily updates. But most of all she was out there rappelling down ravines, canyons and waterfalls just about every day searching for Amanda.
Javier, a former US Army Special Operations Ranger, that knew Amanda, appeared at base camp with one goal and one goal only and that was to find his friend. His amazing positive attitude and motivational skills kept the volunteers and the overall search efforts energized. Every day he was out doing everything from rappelling with Elena, deep diving into dangerous waters, and searching tough terrain with local hunter Troy Helmer, Javier was in the helicopter that found Amanda and it was so appropriate that he was the first one to reach her. By the way Javier works for Maui Dream Dives Company as a professional dive instructor.
This is a very powerful conversation. It is the first time together, they are able to fully tell their story and is especially captivating as they discuss the day they found her.
I'm so honored and grateful that they all came on Feel Good Running and shared their amazing story. I assume there will be many non-runners that will be interested in listening to this episode do to the subject and our guests. So welcome all new listeners and of course our regular listeners. Please share this episode with all your friends, family and on social media. It is an episode that everyone will take something away for the better.
Just a few nights before this podcast was released, there was a Ceremony of Application for the volunteers of the search here on Maui. It was a wonderful event and I had the opportunity to meet Amanda and her mother Julia. They are very wonderful people. I said to Amanda, "I'm really glad that you were found." And she responded with a simple smile and in a quiet voice said, "Me Too!"
There are links below and I will add to them as they become available. So check back every so often. Enjoy the episode!
Eller Family Message - Message from the Eller Family to address community concerns and clarify rumors.
Find Amanda - Facebook Page
Javier Cantellops - Facebook Page
Chris Berquist - Facebook Page
Elena Pray - Facebook Page
Outsider Magazine Article - Best article about the search and rescue and also focuses on Noah "KeKai" Mina.
Today - Article and Video Clips
NEVER GIVE UP! EVER! MIRACLES DO HAPPEN!