John and Alana Knight’s dream adventure to French Polynesia to celebrate their marriage took a nightmarish turn on the last day of their trip — and much of their first days as newlyweds have now been spent in a hospital.
Soon after the couple married on April 7 near their home in Santa Clarita, California, they flew out to Bora Bora — a small South Pacific island northwest of Tahiti — for a romantic honeymoon vacation. With their trip coming to a close, John and Alana went out to enjoy the ocean one last time on April 20, their last full day on the Polynesian island. That’s when things went wrong.
“They got married and they’re looking forward to starting their new life, and taking this beautiful honeymoon,” Dori Lancaster, Alana’s longtime friend, told KTLA. “And then all of a sudden, in the blink of an eye, their script just changed.”
When John leaped from a nearby hotel hut into the ocean, he underestimated its depth and crashed head-first into the sand, according to the news station. The force of the impact fractured John’s C-7 vertebrae, and Alana had to pull her husband from the water before he drowned.
John had lost feeling in his legs, and he was transported about 170 miles to an emergency medical center on Tahiti.
He has since undergone an emergency surgery and has regained some feeling in his legs, but the newlywed is now facing lung complications and has been given hour-long oxygen treatments every four hours.
Alana has been by her husband’s side every step of the way, taking up residence at a hotel across from the hospital.
“Every day is different, every hour’s different. It’s a rollercoaster,” Alana told KTLA.
The family is now trying to organize a way to safely transport John 4,000 miles back to the U.S. so that he can be closer to friends and relatives as he recovers. Until then, they are stuck in Tahiti.
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Lancaster recently set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds to help the couple, who are unsure how much of John’s insurance will help cover the rising costs. According to Lancaster, the newlyweds used all of their paid time off for their honeymoon and are hemorrhaging money between paying for treatment and the hotel. The donation page has raised almost $90,000 of its $200,000 goal.
“We’re just trying to get back home,” Alana told KTLA. “It’s been a nightmare.”