MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An Indiana newlywed didn’t think he would be spending his honeymoon in a South Florida hospital, but that is exactly what happened after he fell down inside a dormant volcano in St. Kitts.
Clay Chastain suffered a skull fracture in the fall and is now recovering at Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale.
Chastain is also temporarily deaf in one ear and is leaking cerebral spinal fluid through his nose.
His new wife, Acaimie Chastain, all five-foot-two, one hundred and five pounds of her, lugged Clay down the volcano until they got cell service and were able to call for help.
Prior to making the trip, they tried to find a tour guide, but couldn’t and decided to hike up on their own.
“We decided just with the way the country is set up to, we decided we were just going to go there, find a visitors center and find a tour guide that could probably be cheaper and also haggle a little bit,” said Clay. “But we got there and we actually didn’t see a visitors center and it was kind of just the beginning of the trail so we were just like okay we don’t need one, we’ll just go ahead and do it.”
After a two and a half hour climb up to the top of the dormant volcano, Clay decided to climb down into the crater lake.
“Acaimie and I both started to descend down to the crater just to kind of get a better view, get some pictures. And then when we started descending down to the crater, she stopped at about 15 to 20 feet down because she’s not a big fan of heights. She’s afraid of heights and it was steep enough that it freaked her out a bit. So she stayed up at the top,” said Clay.
Then, Clay remembered climbing down for one second and then sitting on the ground with his head between his knees the next.
Acaimie said she heard what sounded like a branch snapping and a rock rolling down, but she didn’t hear Clay.
“I started getting like this feeling, this really bad feeling, that something really bad had happened. I started to call down the mountain and I asked ‘Hey clay are you okay, is everything alright?’” said Acaimie. “I didn’t hear a response at first and then I just listened really, really closely and I heard what sounded like clay saying ‘Help!’ just really faintly and I just started freaking out.”
She went down and found his phone and bandana, and then she spotted her husband.
Acaimie finally reached Clay, who had injured his head and had blood pouring out of his nose and onto his shirt.
She knew she had to get him out of that crater.
“I looked at him and I said, we’re gonna have to climb out of here, you’re gonna have to help climb out of here,” she said.
The climb took nearly three hours before she could get Clay to paramedics.
“We kept going down and I was just coaching Clay and telling him about how proud I was because I was just like so happy that he was conscious, at least able to move, even if he didn’t know what was going on and that he was able to lean upon me and still make his descent down,” said Acaimie.
“The fact that I had to lean on her most of the way down and she’s able to keep going and support me through that, is nothing short of a miracle,” Clay said. “I have no doubt that this will get fixed over time and it’ll heal itself with the help of the doctors and help of God as well.”
A GoFundMe page raised $30,000 for his medical flight to Fort Lauderdale.
“We’re just so thankful to everyone back home. All the support that we have received has been so overwhelming,” Acaimie said. “Probably the worst honeymoon ever but through it we have learned a lot about each other and a lot about who we ultimately need to have our trust in and that’s our God.”