On May 8th, 2019, Amanda Eller went missing in the Makawao Forest Reserve on Maui, Hawaii. After 72 hours the police and fire department called off their search efforts. But Amanda was a daughter, a sister, a friend and a loved member of the Maui community, and people began to assemble and coordinate their own volunteer search effort.
As the days went on, hundreds of people gathered in the forest and began to organize a search of unprecedented scale for the island. Helicopters, dogs, drones, rappellers, and hikers scoured the dense and unforgiving terrain. A group of people stepped up to the plate to coordinate the massive search effort. We tracked the location of search teams using GPS apps, created a command center, organized volunteer efforts and devised a live mapping system to leave no stone unturned.
After seventeen long days, we spotted Amanda from a helicopter and she was returned safely to her family.
The Search Tech Advisory Team was created to pay it forward. We want to share the technology, methodology and experience we gained through our first rescue with the world, and assist in the recovery of other missing persons.
For images from our efforts in the Find Amanda mission: Click Here
Regional & International Focus
We focus on serving the communities and families with the greatest need, including under-financed and under-resourced communities. At the onset, we are focusing on directly supporting Search and Rescue efforts in the State of Hawaii. Despite its size, Hawaii is 8th in missing persons. The Hawaiian Islands are an attraction for adventurers, which lends itself to frequent lost or injured persons in its wilderness. But the nature and isolation of the islands means it is particularly challenging to quickly obtain technology and specialized resources. Further, the experience of the founding STAT members in Search & Rescue operations in Hawaii means we can lend directly relevant experience to make a positive difference as quickly as possible.
However, STAT’s focus is not limited solely to the Hawaiian islands. We strive to provide assistance in the form of direct aid or advisory support to any Search & Rescue effort - domestic or international - that is aligned to our mission and within our means. Further we strive to build and invest in tools that can be leveraged to any rural search and rescue effort worldwide.
Distribution & Financial Info
STAT is financed solely by donations and fundraising. We do not act as a 3rd fundraising group for other organizations, though, at our discretion, we do provide direct funding to on-going search efforts as well as supplying funding for training and equipment to groups that fall with-in our goals of improving SAR.
Examples of organizations we may contribute to include rural, non-profit Search & Rescue organizations, such as Kauai Search and Rescue and the Jon Francis Foundation.
Additional income sources will include grants, as well as private and corporate sponsorship. The corporation disposes its income through the decisions made by its board of directors or through the decisions of the duly elected treasurer, whose power to pay expenses is set out by the board or the corporation’s bylaws in accordance to the corporation’s purpose. Expenses paid by the corporation include, but are not limited to: technology platform development, hosting and maintenance, equipment purchases and rentals, key employee salaries, consultant fees, insurance premiums, internet web site fees, publications, advertising and miscellaneous board expenses.