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Rescued Hawaii hiker Amanda Eller apologizes for being 'irresponsible' in new video

Amanda Eller, who went missing for 17 days in a Hawaiian forest, said she never intended to put anyone "in harm's way" and clarified earlier comments that the ordeal was a "spiritual" journey.
/ Source: TODAY

The hiker who was rescued after going missing for 17 days in a Hawaiian forest is now apologizing for being "irresponsible."

Yoga instructor Amanda Eller released a Facebook video Friday in which she apologized for triggering a massive rescue effort involving hundreds of searchers, including a helicopter team, on the island of Maui.

"I realize that I was irresponsible, that I should have had my cellphone with me, that I should have had some water with me, some kind of preparatory tools that you bring with you when you go hiking," Eller said in the seven-minute video.

"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 added.

The 35-year-old went for a run in the woods on May 8 but was slowed by some downed trees, she said. After stopping to meditate, she got lost and couldn't find her way back to her car, where she'd left her cellphone and other belongings.

A helicopter team spotted her on May 24 near a waterfall. She suffered a fractured leg, severe sunburn, dehydration and a skin infection during her ordeal. She was taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center and has since been released.

"I just want to apologize for any kind of rescue efforts people feel were unnecessary. I apologize and I also thank every single person that showed up, boots on the ground, to try and help in finding me … I'm in such awe and gratitude of all of the people that helped me find my way back to my family."

Eller also said she wanted to make clear that she was simply on a recreational trip into the woods when she got lost. Last week, she'd described the journey as an "extremely spiritual" experience.

"I understand that my comments earlier on about this being a spiritual journey may have bypassed the details of what really happened and I'd like to clarify that I did, at the end of this experience of mine, find the silver lining," she said. "But this was never intentional, and I did not set out that day on a spiritual journey."

She also clarified that she simply got disoriented in trying to find her way back to her car and was not under the influence of any substances.

"There were not any drugs taken at all,'' she said. "I was not under the influence of anything, just complete sobriety and clarity, and after meditating, I tried to return to my car and I couldn't find that path that led me to that spot."

Eller had an emotional reunion last week with her rescuers and the community members who assisted in the search.

"You guys are the heroes,'' Eller said during a community gathering. "I am not the hero, I am just the girl sitting here healing my ankles."