Groom who fell into volcano speaks out about ordeal

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Clay Chastain, who is recovering at Broward Health Medical Center after falling into a dormant volcano on his honeymoon in St. Kitts, is telling his side of the tropical horror story.

“I got knocked unconscious at first, but then my memory goes in and out of things I remember after the fall,” Clay recalled.

Clay and his wife Acaimie Chastain had both planned to hike into Mount Liamuiga’s crater basin, but Acaimie only made it about 15 to 20 feet down because she’s not a big fan of heights, leaving him to hike the rest of way down the crater basin on his own.

Then, Acaimie heard a snap of what the couple believes was Clay’s rope, and she knew something was wrong.

“I’m sitting on the ground with my head between my knees and vomiting up blood, and there’s blood all down my shirt, and I hear Acaimie calling out to me,” Clay said.

“I just listened really, really closely, and I heard what sounded like Clay saying ‘Help!’ just really, really faintly,” Acaimie said, “and at that point in time, I just started freaking out. I started praying right away because … I mean, I had no idea what was going on.”

Acaimie, weighing a little over 100 pounds, helped hoist her husband out and hiked their way to help for hours on end.

“He was incredibly lethargic, and he had no sense of balance, so he’s kinda just like an intoxicated person basically is like the best way to describe it,” Acaimie said.

Clay stayed at a St. Kitts hospital before getting airlifted to Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale.

While Clay is still feeling the effects of the frightening 40 to 70 foot fall — the base of his skull is fractured — he is grateful to be alive and for his wife.

“Every now and then I’ll get headaches. I still can’t hear out of my right ear. My right ear has been deaf ever since I fell,” Clay said. “I could stand, and I could move my feet to walk, but I had no sense of direction and no balance and the fact that I had to lean on her most of the way down, she’s able to keep going and support me through that, is nothing short of a miracle. I would say her two worst fears are people vomiting and heights, and she had to get through both of those first, and that still didn’t slow her down.”

Although Clay is expected to stay at Broward Health for the next several days, the Chastains have extended their thanks to people who have supported them in St. Kitts, South Florida and their loved ones in their home state of Indiana.

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