BROWARD CO., FLORIDA — A Crawfordsville newlywed couple whose honeymoon took a turn for the worse is back in the states and talking about their harrowing experience. The husband fell more than 50 feet down into a dormant volcano and was severely hurt. Now, he's receiving care at a Florida hospital with his wife by his side.
Clay Chastain and his wife, Acaimie, has had a hazardous honeymoon riddled with hurdles. But their love for each other is evident as they hold hands.
"We've learned a lot about each other, and we learned a lot about who we need to have our trust in — and that's our God," Acaimie said.
Clay and Acaimie were exploring on the island of St. Kitts, east of Puerto Rico, on July 18, when the couple had hiked to the top of a dormant volcano. Clay wanted a closer look inside the crater and used a rope to rappel down when it snapped. He fell 50 feet.
"I wouldn't have survived if one, the fall was any worse. I could have had more injuries and, who knows, I might not have survived. And it's also no telling what would have happened if Acaimie wasn't there to carry me down," Clay said.
Calling Acaimie his hero, Clay says she had overcome her fears of heights and bodily fluids to get her husband to safety.
"It's astounding actually — the amount she was able to get through," he said.
Clay had suffered a concussion, a fractured spine and was vomiting blood. Acaimie had got him out of the crater and to safety.
"Not only did she keep me going down the mountain when I couldn't even walk. I couldn't even walk in general. I could stand up, and I could move my feet to walk, but I had no sense of direction and no balance," Clay said of Acaimie. "And the fact that I had to lean on her most of the way down and she was able to keep going and support me through that is nothing short of a miracle."
Once the couple reached a hospital, they had to wait days for funds to be raised for an air ambulance transport back to the US. And then, another set back.
The first medical plane had mechanical issues, and the Chastain's flight was delayed a couple of days.
Finally, the couple arrived at a hospital in Broward County, Florida, where they will remain for a few days.
"I feel like I'm actually pretty well off right now, pretty strong. I don't have any doubt this will get fixed over time, and it will heal itself with the help of the doctors and the help of God, as well," Clay said.
The doctors in Florida are giving Clay a good prognosis so the couple can continue with a quiet honeymoon, with their cats, at home.
"We are hoping to get back to Indiana soon and get Clay healed all the way and get back to our normal life," Acaimie said.
The Chastain's will return to Indianapolis in a few days after he is discharged from the Florida hospital.
Clay says he has learned some lessons to pass on to others:
- Always use a tour guide, when considering exploring.
- Never go alone on a hike or a climb.
- Make sure you watch your footing, and have proper equipment while climbing.