In this Friday, May 24, 2019, photo provided by Troy Jeffrey Helmer, resident Amanda Eller, second from left, poses for a photo after being found by searchers, Javier Cantellops, far left, Helmer and Chris Berquist above the Kailua reservoir in East Maui, Hawaii, on Friday afternoon. The men spotted Eller from a helicopter and went down to retrieve her. She was taken to the hospital and was in good spirits, her family said. Eller had been missing since May 8. (Troy Jeffrey Helmer via AP)

HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii woman said Tuesday she fell to the ground and started bawling when a rescue helicopter spotted her in a forest where she had survived for two weeks by eating plants and drinking stream water.

Amanda Eller said crews in other helicopters failed to see her earlier in her ordeal.

"I knew in the grand scheme of things, I'm on this tiny piece of rock on the top of a waterfall, and how the heck are they going to find me?" Eller said at a news conference livestreamed from Maui. "It was a miracle."

The same group of volunteers who found her on Friday were helping search another forest for a Maui man, Noah Mina, who has been missing since May 20.

Eller had set out May 8 for a 3-mile (5-kilometer) hike in Makawao Forest Reserve. She didn't take a cellphone and didn't have a compass.

The physical therapist said her heart was telling her which way to turn. But when she tried to go back the way she came, that path didn't lead to her car.

Eller said she's normally an "overpreparer" and has food, water, sunscreen and a hat with her.

"Just that day I did not," she said, conceding she should have taken a cellphone.

Her darkest moment came on her 14th day in the forest when helicopters passed over and failed to see her yet again.

"You lose hope," Eller said. "Your hope meter starts to decline a little bit. And as the sun starts to go down you think, 'OK. Another night alone, how am I going to stay warm, how am I going to stay alive?'"

Still, she said she never felt alone or fearful. She thought of her family and chose to live.

She told herself: "You can sit on that rock and you can die. You can say mercy and feel pitiful for yourself and you can play victim. Or you can start walking down that waterfall and choose life."

Eller said a prayer for Mina, who went missing on a ridge trail near Wailuku. Eller said the area was "gnarly" and scarier than the spot where she was. She called the search for her "training" for the latest effort.

"I send all of my love and all of my support to his family and friends and his search teams," she said.

Mina's father, Vincent Mina, told The Maui News that first responders found his son's flip flops about 2,500 feet (762 meters) above sea level. They located footprints but weren't sure if they were Mina's.

Vincent Mina said Chris Berquist and Javier Cantellops, the arborist and Army Ranger who led the two-week search for Eller, met with Mina's family and were taken by helicopter Sunday to the area where he was last seen.

Eller said she's eager to get back to work and take care of her physical therapy patients. She said she has some ankle wounds and her knee hurts, but expects to be off crutches in about a month.

"I'm so grateful to be alive. I wake up in the morning and I'm like, 'Oh my God, I had a warm bed that I got to sleep in. And my body got to rest and to heal. My ankles are getting stronger.' Grateful for every breath. Grateful for everything. And I hope I never lose that," Eller said.

Rescued hiker Amanda Eller speaks during a news conference at Maui Memorial Medical Center in Wailuku, Hawaii, on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Eller said she fell to the ground and started bawling when a rescue helicopter spotted her in a forest where she had survived for two weeks by eating plants and drinking stream water. She said crews in other helicopters had failed to see her earlier in her ordeal. She was rescued on Friday. (Matthew Thayer/The News via AP)
Rescued hiker Amanda Eller speaks during a news conference at Maui Memorial Medical Center in Wailuku, Hawaii, on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Eller said she fell to the ground and started bawling when a rescue helicopter spotted her in a forest where she had survived for two weeks by eating plants and drinking stream water. She said crews in other helicopters had failed to see her earlier in her ordeal. She was rescued on Friday. (Matthew Thayer/The News via AP)
In this Friday, May 24, 2019, photo provided by Troy Jeffrey Helmer, shows Amanda Eller, second from left, after being found by searchers, Javier Cantellops, far left, and Chris Berquist, right, above the Kailua reservoir in East Maui, Hawaii, on Friday afternoon. The men spotted Eller from a helicopter and went down to retrieve her. She was taken to the hospital and was in good spirits, her family said. Eller had been missing since May 8. (Troy Jeffrey Helmer/Find Amanda via AP)
John Eller, right, father of Amanda Eller, speaks with rescue lead Chris Berquist at the Makawao Forest Reserve base camp on Saturday, May 25, 2019 in Wailuku, Maui.The Maui News reported Friday Amanda Eller was found injured in the Makawao Forest Reserve. Family spokeswoman Sarah Haynes confirmed she spoke with Eller's father John. Eller was airlifted to safety. (Bryan Berkowitz/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)
Sarah Haynes, left, embraces John Eller, father of Amanda Eller, outside the Maui Memorial Hospital on Friday, May 24, 2019 in Wailuku, Maui. The Maui News reported Friday Amanda Eller was found injured in the Makawao Forest Reserve. Family spokeswoman Sarah Haynes confirmed she spoke with Eller's father John. Eller was airlifted to safety. (Bryan Berkowitz/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)
Julia Eller, mother of Amanda Eller, speaks during a news conference about the rescue of Amanda Eller on Saturday, May 25, 2019 in Wailuku Maui. The Maui News reported Friday Amanda Eller was found injured in the Makawao Forest Reserve. Family spokeswoman Sarah Haynes confirmed she spoke with Eller's father John. Eller was airlifted to safety. (Bryan Berkowitz/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)
Julia Eller, right, mother of Amanda Eller, hugs rescue lead Javier Cantellops during a news conference about the rescue of Amanda Eller on Saturday, May 25, 2019 in Wailuku Maui. The Maui News reported Friday Amanda Eller was found injured in the Makawao Forest Reserve. Family spokeswoman Sarah Haynes confirmed she spoke with Eller's father John. Eller was airlifted to safety. (Bryan Berkowitz/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)
From left, Sarah Haynes, rescue lead Javier Cantellops, and Julia Eller, mother of Amanda Eller, speaks during a news conference about the rescue of Amanda Eller on Saturday, May 25, 2019 in Wailuku, Maui. The Maui News reported Friday Amanda Eller was found injured in the Makawao Forest Reserve. Family spokeswoman Sarah Haynes confirmed she spoke with Eller's father John. Eller was airlifted to safety. (Bryan Berkowitz/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)
John Eller, right, father of Amanda Eller, reacts while acknowledging the crowd at the Makawao Forest Reserve base camp on Saturday, May 25, 2019 in Wailuku, Maui.. The Maui News reported Friday Amanda Eller was found injured in the Makawao Forest Reserve. Family spokeswoman Sarah Haynes confirmed she spoke with Eller's father John. Eller was airlifted to safety. (Bryan Berkowitz/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)
Rescue leads Javier Cantellops, top, and Chris Berquist show some of the technology used for the search of Amana Eller at the Makawao Forest Reserve base camp on Saturday, May 25, 2019 in Wailuku, Maui. The Maui News reported Friday Amanda Eller was found injured in the Makawao Forest Reserve. Family spokeswoman Sarah Haynes confirmed she spoke with Eller's father John. Eller was airlifted to safety. (Bryan Berkowitz/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)
John Eller, right, hugs rescue lead Javier Cantellops at the Makawao Forest Reserve base camp on Saturday, May 25, 2019 in Wailuku, Maui. The Maui News reported Friday Amanda Eller was found injured in the Makawao Forest Reserve. Family spokeswoman Sarah Haynes confirmed she spoke with Eller's father John. Eller was airlifted to safety. (Bryan Berkowitz/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)