Fox News War Reporter Benjamin Hall, Who Lost a Leg in Russian Missile Attack, Shares His Survival Story

One year after Hall was caught in a deadly blast on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, he's opening up about his emotional recovery in a new memoir called Saved: A War Reporter's Mission to Make It Home

Benjamin Hall
Benjamin Hall at home in London, February 2023. Photo: Lauren Fleishman

Journalist Benjamin Hall had been reporting on international conflicts for 15 years, embedding himself in combat zones and telling locals' stories, when he suddenly found himself on the other end of headlines last spring: Fox News Correspondent Benjamin Hall Hospitalized with Injuries While Reporting in Ukraine. Those near-fatal injuries included losing a leg on one side and a foot on the other — and losing function of both a hand and an eye.

One year and about 30 surgeries later, the father of three is still adjusting to his new life — one with prosthetics and canes, but also more time with his wife and young daughters. Before releasing his new memoir, Saved: A War Reporter's Mission to Make It Home, on March 14, Hall opens up to PEOPLE about the difficult road to recovery and the unexpected lessons he's learned along the way.

Above all, Hall says, he feels lucky. "You know, I look at my injuries and I don't worry about them one bit, because I'm here with my family."

Benjamin Hall's memoir Saved
'Saved: A War Reporter's Mission to Make It Home' by Benjamin Hall.

Hall traveled to Ukraine in late February 2022 to cover Russia's unfolding invasion and the lives it was destroying. He knew the safety risks, but that was the nature of his career — "the only way you can really tell a good story is to be there," he says. Hall had been on assignment for little more than two weeks when, on March 14, 2022, he ventured out of Kyiv to get footage of a decimated town nearby. Heading back from the shoot after a successful day in the field, his vehicle was struck by a slew of Russian missiles.

News of the bombing quickly spread around the globe, with Fox News revealing that Hall had been injured and details were scarce. What people didn't know at the time, and what they would come to learn soon after, is that four others were in the vehicle with Hall — including beloved Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski, 55, and local journalist Sasha Kuvshynova, 24. Only Hall survived the blasts.

"I lost limbs and I'm badly injured, but they lost everything," Hall tells PEOPLE, reflecting on the tragedy ahead of its one-year anniversary. He hopes that he can use his newly elevated platform to spread the values of Zakrzewski, a man who served as something of a mentor to him: "His love of life, his absolute generosity, his kindness and his adventure."

Benjamin Hall
Pierre Zakrzewski and Benjamin Hall in Afghanistan, December 2020. Pierre Zakrzewski/Fox News

In the hour after the bombing left Hall stranded alongside an abandoned highway, he was fortunate enough to get noticed by a passerby who'd taken a wrong turn. He was brought to a hospital in Kyiv for emergency treatment, but needed a more permanent situation — out of harm's way — to begin a brutal, months-long process of recovering.

It was then, when Fox News learned of his condition, that executives began negotiating with contacts around the world to get him extracted from Ukraine in any way possible and admitted to a U.S. Army hospital.

Back home in London during all of this, Hall's wife, Alicia, had the difficult task of determining when — and how — to tell their daughters Honor, Iris and Hero what happened. At the time, they were just 6, 4 and 2 years old, respectively.

"I didn't want to tell the girls anything until we knew for sure that he would be okay," Alicia tells PEOPLE, "because I didn't want them to be worried that he'd had an accident and then not be able to give them any answers." In those first few weeks, she hid her stress as best she could and kept them as busy as she could — with school, ballet, theater, anything to keep their mind off the limited contact with their dad.

Hall and Alicia didn't want the girls to get any scarring visuals of Hall's injuries, so they communicated with him only by phone for a while as his face healed. Early on, while Hall was still a bit out of it, Alicia remembers, "He tried to turn the video camera on and speak to my little one because the other two had already gone to bed." It didn't go over too well. "I was like, 'You cannot speak to the kids like this! You need to turn this off.'"

Benjamin Hall
Alicia Meller and Benjamin Hall. Lauren Fleishman

Experiencing what doctors call polytrauma, Hall needed the top specialists available — specialists he couldn't get at the U.S. Army hospital in Germany, where he was initially taken after escaping Ukraine. He was advised to transfer to the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, thousands of miles away from his family in London, for treatment that could take as long as two years. The question, then, became whether Alicia and their children would relocate to be with him.

"That was quite a big decision because there were two camps on that," Alicia recalls. "Some people were like, 'You should absolutely go be with him and bring the family and you should all get through this together.' And then the other view was, 'You know what? There's nothing that we can really do. This is a purely doctor scenario.'"

Wary of uprooting the girls at a time when they'd need stability more than ever, they decided to let Hall recover in Texas alone, where he would be free of distraction and even more motivated to shorten his stay. "We had to divide and conquer," Alicia says.

Looking back, they're content with that decision.

Benjamin Hall
Benjamin Hall recovering far from home. Courtesy

In Texas, Hall convinced his doctors and physical therapists to push his limits so that he could get back to his family sooner. Faced with medication-induced hallucinations and occasional feelings of defeat, he kept focusing on the future.

"When I was really low, I just tried to find one little piece of goodness," he says, "one little thing to help me get through it." His mind always came back to the family waiting for him on the other end.

In August 2022, just in time for his eldest daughter's seventh birthday, he was released. Feeling immense excitement for the long-awaited reunion with his children — and "a bit of trepidation" over how they'd react to his prosthetic right leg and left foot — he returned to London for the first time in six months, ready for a lifetime of "absolutely normal day-to-day things."

"I get this real physical emotion in a way I never did before — an absolutely physical sense of love," he tells PEOPLE of spending time with his wife and daughters since the accident. "Every time I look at them, I feel that now."

For more on Benjamin Hall's life since surviving the attack in Ukraine, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up this week's issue, on newsstands Friday.

Benjamin Hall reads bedtime stories to his daughters
Benjamin Hall reads bedtime stories to his daughters. Lauren Fleishman

Though he still has a ways to go — more surgeries, more physical therapy and more milestones in his recovery ("I look forward to running," he notes) — he couldn't be happier for the life he has today. Watching his daughters jump on the trampoline, sitting around the table with family for meals and reading bedtime stories are things he longed for from the moment he regained consciousness after the bombing.

"I look at the world now in a much more confident way," he says. "You could throw absolutely anything at me and I know that I'll get through it."

The same goes for his family. "It's a journey, isn't it? Life's a journey," Alicia says. "It would be selfish of Benji and I to wallow in self-pity when much worse has happened to many more people."

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