Local News

Raleigh woman, friend stranded in Aruba after ATV accident

Posted April 14, 2015 6:43 p.m. EDT
Updated April 14, 2015 6:59 p.m. EDT

— A Raleigh woman and her friend are finally able to return home after an ATV accident left them stranded at a hospital in Aruba.

Kenya Dukes and Deana Kennedy left for Aruba on Thursday to celebrate Kennedy's 35th birthday.

"We thought we were coming for four days to lay in the sun, but that's just not what happened," Kennedy said.

While in Aruba, the two friends decided to go on an ATV tour, but after a few minutes the adventure turned dangerous.

"We were probably six minutes into the ride when the steering component got stuck," Kennedy said. "I was thrown off. I hit my hip on the ground and I rolled."

Kennedy broke her pelvis and had to undergo emergency surgery.

"What we didn't realize is that I can't get on a plane. I can't sit up," Kennedy said.

According to doctors, Kennedy will need an air ambulance to return home to the U.S. The cost is estimated at $34,000 and an additional $22,000 is needed for the hospital bill.

"Here on the Aruba side they won't accept my insurance," she said.

According to travel agent Nicole Bass, it is not uncommon for travelers to find themselves abroad with unexpected medical expenses.

"Your normal medical insurance doesn't cover you when you leave the country," Bass said.

Bass said she recommends clients who travel internationally buy medical insurance.

"The coverage depends on the price of the package and your age," she said. "They take how much you pay for the trip and your age to determine the cost."

Dukes and Kennedy both agree insurance is worth the extra cost.

"Always have travel insurance. Do not leave the country, don't go to Canada, don't go to the Virgin Islands, nowhere without travel insurance," Kennedy said.

Dukes and Kennedy said they will spend Tuesday night in Aruba but plan to arrive back in the U.S. on Wednesday.