This is a kind of bittersweet feel-good story for the end of a long week. Fox News State Department correspondent Benjamin Hall was in Ukraine covering the Russian invasion for the cable news network when the vehicle he was traveling in came under attack by what is believed to have been Russian forces. No official confirmation of that has been made. Tragically, two others were killed and Hall was rescued and taken to a hospital. He was gravely injured but his life was spared. After a three week absence, he posted an update on Twitter Thursday night.
On March 14, Hall and two colleagues fell victim to a shelling that the Ukrainian ministry of defense attributed at the time to Russian forces. Veteran Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian fixer for the network, Oleksandra Kuvshynova, were killed. FNC announced the news two days later of the deadly attack on the team covering the war outside of Kyiv and the passing of Zakrzewski and Kuvshynova. Benjamin Hall was described as being in critical condition with serious injuries but that was about the extent of the information that was made available. Since then, updates were given by the network that he was moved to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and then to Texas for medical attention.
Hall updated his social media followers Thursday with a photo of himself as he looks now and a quick medical update. It was only two tweets but he began first with honoring his two colleagues.
“Its been over three weeks since the attack in Ukraine and I wanted to start sharing it all,” Hall wrote on Thursday night. “But first I need to pay tribute to my colleagues Pierre and Sasha who didn’t make it that day. Pierre and I traveled the world together, working was his joy and his joy was infectious. RIP.”
“To sum it up, I’ve lost half a leg on one side and a foot on the other,” said Hall, a State Department correspondent who had been on the ground in Ukraine to cover the Russian invasion. “One hand is being put together, one eye is no longer working, and my hearing is pretty blown … but all in all I feel pretty damn lucky to be here.” He shared a photo of himself, heavily bandaged and wearing a patch over his left eye.
I would insert those tweets here but they have since been deleted. It’s unclear why they were deleted, perhaps it is a personal privacy issue or maybe one made out of safety concerns.
As you might imagine, since Hall works for Fox, some responses to the tweets were less than charitable. Most wished him well and a speedy recovery. Some others in the media wished him well, too.
Hours later, both tweets were deleted, but before then they had been shared across Twitter thousands of times, prompting an outpouring of tributes and sympathy. “You’ve been through hell and you’re looking pretty damn good, @BenjaminHallFNC,” wrote ABC News chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl. “Can’t wait to see you back on the air.” Clarissa Ward, CNN chief international correspondent, shared Hall’s update and wrote, simply, “Courage.”
A few replies to Clarissa Ward’s “courage” tweet made cheap shots at Hall. His courage was questioned because the tweets were deleted and dragged him for working for Fox. Ward, it should be noted, was one who helped make sure Hall was rescued after the attack and taken to a hospital for medical care. Trey Yingst, a Fox colleague covering the war in Ukraine, replied to Hall’s tweets with, “You’re a fighter. Get well soon, my friend.” When he returned to the United States from Ukraine, he told the story of Clarissa Ward jumping into action to help him get in touch with Ukrainian officials and others who might be able to recover Hall from the scene of the attack, as well as the bodies of the others. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, bash CNN all you want (and I do) but Clarissa Ward is an excellent reporter during conflicts overseas.
Hall was extracted from Ukraine with the help of a group called Save Our Allies and Fox News Pentagon correspondent Jennifer Griffin. The story of finding Benjamin, and then getting him to the border with Poland before going on to Germany is awe-inspiring.
The update was bittersweet. He’s alive and recovering, which is the most important part of the update, but he has a really long way to go. His injuries are forever life-changing. He’s only 39 years old and has a wife and two young daughters for support. We wish him well.