A California couple’s dream vacation has been turned into a nightmare that they can’t escape.
Brian and Shimeaka Hodges of Bakersfield, California, are now stuck in Mexico after his horrifying zip lining accident on July 20.
The couple and their friends went to Cabo San Lucas to celebrate their anniversary and Shimeaka’s birthday. Having taken in a few days of sun, sand and great food, they decided to try something new with zip lining adventure at Wild Canyon Zip Lines. The park designates itself as the safest course in the area, but Brian’s friend noticed something very risky about Brian’s line.
“I could see he’s too close, way too close,” Calvin Black told 23 ABC News, adding that Brian’s cord was about 20 feet out from the side of a mountain. That distance wasn’t far enough to keep Brian from being thrown into the rock wall at 40 mph when a strong wind whipped up.
Brian was unconscious by the time his friends recovered his body, which endured serious injuries. He sustained traumatic brain injury along with a broken neck and broken ribs.
Shimeaka told KTLA that she’d seen him crashing into the mountain having just completed her own ride. “I saw his lifeless body, standing, just trying to wake him up,” she recalled.
He was immediately taken to a nearby hospital, but doctors wouldn’t operate on him until they got $50,000 from Shimeaka beforehand. The couple’s international insurance only covered half of the $100,000 treatment.
“They wouldn’t even start the surgery unless I gave them the $50,000 right then and there,” Shimeaka said. “Once they got it off of my credit card, then they went ahead and called and got a surgery team together.”
She was later hit with another bill for $28,000, and she’s not sure how they’ll pay that down. An insurance professional contacted by 23 ABC suggests that travelers get international insurance so that their medical needs are covered when they visit other countries.
Brian, who is currently in a coma, and Shimeaka are still in Mexico because his injuries are too serious for him to be moved. His condition is improving, though!
A campaign to help the Hodges has been set up on GoFundMe.com by Calvin’s wife, Enjoli Black. Earlier today, she announced on the fundraising page that “arrangements are being made for Brian to be transferred to a US hospital soon!”
The campaign is aiming to raise $100,000, and so far Brian’s family and friends are nearly halfway to their goal. As of press time, had donated about $49,543. Of the 870 donors, some have contributed as much as $550.
If you want to chip in, click here!