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Search for 2nd Missing Maui Hiker Ends in Tragedy

Body of Noah 'Kekai' Mina discovered below steep ridge near where Amanda Eller was rescued
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2019 7:47 AM CDT
Another Maui Hiker Is Found. This Time, No Jubilation
Javier Cantellops, far left, and Chris Berquist, right, pose with Amanda Eller after finding the missing hiker in East Maui on Friday.   (Troy Jeffrey Helmer/Find Amanda via AP)

Heartbreak from the family of a lost hiker in Maui follows jubilation from another. The body of 35-year-old local Noah "Kekai" Mina, missing since May 20, was recovered by a helicopter crew Wednesday in the summit region of Mauna Kahalawai, reports NBC News. That's just 18 miles from where hiker Amanda Eller was rescued Friday after more than two weeks lost in a forest reserve, reports CNN. By Sunday, the team that found Eller was on the trail of Mina, who'd set out on Wailuku's unmarked Kapilau Ridge Trail, also known as the Saint Anthony Cross or Iao Valley Secret Trail, reports Outside. Javier Cantellops, an ex-Army Special Forces Airborne Ranger who taught scuba to Eller before finding her, described the search area for Mina as "the most primal part of Maui" and "not a place where people go," considering "sheer 2,400-foot faces."

As Mina's father had advised against the usual volunteers attempting to find his son, Cantellops boarded a search helicopter Sunday along with arborist Chris Berquist and a female rappelling guide, per Outside. Then came the unfortunate news. Maui Police Lt. Gregg Okamoto said West Maui watershed employees, Division of Forestry Wildlife personnel, and a Windward Aviation pilot found Mina's body some 400 feet below a steep ridge around 6:35am Wednesday. "We are so very sorry that Kekai has passed from this realm" but "we find solace that he was found, and ask all those that extended their hearts and love to Kekai and to us, that you pause, and take a moment to love and hold those that are dear to you a moment longer than you would normally do," his family says, per CNN. (Eller survived despite a broken leg.)

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