On March 14, 2022, however, Hall became the story as he and his crew fell under Russian attack on the outskirts of Kyiv. One year later, he’s back with a new book called Saved as well as a new outlook on life.
Hall told CBN News that his faith played a big part in helping him survive and get back to his family.
During our interview, Hall took us back to that day in March 2022 – a day that changed everything for him.
“We slowed down to a checkpoint, an abandoned checkpoint and as the car slowed down, out of nowhere came that first bomb. It came whistling out of the sky, you know, landed about 30 feet in front of us. And we quickly tried to reverse the car but then a few seconds later, the second bomb landed and that one landed just next to the car. And at that point, I blacked out. I now know that’s when I got the facial injuries, shrapnel in the eye and a big piece in my throat and I was all but gone,” Hall remembered.
‘My Daughter Appeared to Me in a Vision’
“I was as close to death as I think you can be, in a total silent blackness and into that blackness came my daughter, my seven-year-old daughter Honor. And she was right in front of me. As clearly as anything she said to me, ‘Daddy, you’ve got to get out of the car. You’ve got to get out of the car.’ And my eyes opened. I was brought quickly back into the world, and I grabbed my way towards the door of the car. And just after I had gotten out of the car, the third bomb hit the car itself. And that one threw me away and I was out for a little bit,” Hall recounted.
‘At that Moment, You Have to Pray’
When Ben regained consciousness, he saw the serious nature of his injuries.
“I’m on fire. My right leg is gone. My left foot is gone, mostly gone, and I’m putting the flames out and rolling around and trying to stop the fire. No one knew where we were. No one knew we’d been hit. And there was no cell phone reception. So, I was trying to get a phone signal and I couldn’t. And that was the moment where I, you know, you have to pray, you have to think, ‘what am I going to do?'” Ben remembered.
Then, a car with Ukrainian special forces drove past.
“It didn’t see us the first time, but it got lost down the road and it came back. And I woke up soon after that in a hospital inside Kyiv, a small Ukrainian hospital. But then I knew I wasn’t saved either because there was no way out of the city, and I also didn’t know how I was going to get out. And then began this incredible evacuation led by Save Our Allies, this incredible group and they sent an incredible team in who managed to get me out on the Polish prime minister’s train,” Hall told us.
In addition to his right leg and left foot, Hall also lost an eye and suffered a severely damaged hand. Even worse, his longtime friend and cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian producer Sasha Kuvshynova, did not survive. Clinging to life, Hall had to endure a 10-hour train ride and cross the border to Poland.
“We managed to break through the roadblocks to get there, break through the curfews, people checking my wounds to see if I was really injured or if we were a Russian hit squad coming in. And that was another point where I just had to pray. And it was when I got to the Polish border 10 hours later through incredible agony that there was a U.S. Black Hawk waiting. And as I rose up into the sky, then, that was the time that I knew that survival was over and recovery was beginning,” Hall said.
The Recovery Continues
“Yes. And the recovery continues to this day. Every day I’m in physio. I see doctors most days and still a lot of work to be done. But I was first taken to Landstuhl in Germany, the biggest U.S. base where all the injured from Afghanistan and Iraq had been treated with very similar wounds to mine called poly trauma, limb loss of eyesight, loss burns and all these ones were treated in the same place.”
In his new book, Saved, A War Reporter’s Mission to Make it Home, Hall writes that he had to keep fighting, not just for himself but for his wife and three young daughters.
“I didn’t want my daughters to come and see me straightaway. And I was then moved to Texas, to San Antonio, down to the Brook Army Medical Center. And we made a decision with my wife that the children wouldn’t come to see me because I didn’t want them to see me so badly injured, unable to move,” Hall recounted. “And that’s what drove my recovery, knowing that instead of them coming to see me, I would get better as fast as I could and as well as I could every single day. And so every day I woke up and the plan was to do more than I did the day before,” he said.
‘You’re Back! You’re Back!’
We asked Hall what it was like when his young daughters first saw their Daddy.
“Oh, man…I was quite nervous because I had spoken to other people, veterans who’d had similar accidents as I’d had and similarly limbless, whose children were very afraid of them when they first saw them, but when I walked in that door and I knew they were waiting inside, I didn’t quite know what it would be like.”
“And then that one moment as they just ran up and grabbed hold of me, my Honor, my eldest wouldn’t let go. And there was just this moment where she wouldn’t let go of me. ‘You’re back, you’re back, you’re back.’ And we all cried. And it was just, that’s what I had worked so hard to do. They were what saved me as well, was getting home. So that moment was one of just total joy. Real, real joy,” he said.
Hall says his wife, Alicia, has been a huge support through it all.
“Oh, everything. I mean, one of the things I said the first time I saw her when I was in Landstuhl in Germany was ‘sorry.’ I said, ‘I’m so sorry.’ And not because of what had happened, but because of what lay ahead. I knew that it meant a different life for us. She said, ‘What have we got to do? Where do we do it? We will do it together,'” Hall recalled.
‘I Am Now Much Closer to God’
Hall says he felt the prayers of people praying for him from around the world.
“Every single day I received letters. I received messages in the mail and social media from people across America, thousands of them sending prayers willingly or sending blessings. And every single time I read one of those, it gave me that little level of strength to push through. And, you know, in many ways, I am now much closer to God. I feel closer than I was before,” he said.
Hall says this experience has opened his eyes to the need to tell stories that give people hope and says he would like to return full time to his reporting duties.
“Yeah, I mean, absolutely. I have a couple of operations coming up in the next month, so not at the moment, but we’re already talking about some plans. And I want to focus on some of the optimistic side as well. I’m so amazed at the incredible people I’ve met, the prayers that have been said and the heroes around me that actually, for the first time, I want to tell some of those really uplifting, optimistic stories.”