CLEARWATER, Fla. — When Rosary Eller’s dog woke her up Friday night, she heard someone banging on the windows of her Clearwater home.
She rushed to the door and was greeted by a neighbor who delivered the good news: Her missing niece, hiker Amanda Eller, was found alive.
"All I know is she was lost, and now she's found," Rosary Eller said.
For the past 16 days, Rosary Eller described unspeakable grief knowing her niece had gone missing in a Hawaiian forest. She said for the first two days, she stayed in bed and cried nonstop.
As the days went on, she said she prepared herself for the worst, while still hoping for the best.
"When I heard that she was missing, I thought if anybody can get through this, it's gonna be her," Rosary Eller said. "It’s just remarkable that they found her. She’s gonna be just fine.”
RESCUE VIDEO: Missing hiker Amanda Eller saved from Maui forest
Amanda Eller was rescued on Friday by a helicopter crew her family hired with the help of donations. She had been stuck on a steep creek bed between two waterfalls, surviving on plants and water nearby.
"I think that's the only way we were surviving over here was knowing that they were working so damn hard to get out there and find her,” Rosary Eller said. “We have military structure through our whole family, and I think that has been part of why she was able to survive all this is because we have so much structure in that area and discipline."
Amanda Eller suffered some injuries to her feet but is expected to recover just fine.
"It is amazing," Rosary Eller said. "Honestly, I've never seen anything like this whole situation."
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