A 22-year-old Girl Has Lost Both Her Legs in a Bahamas Tour Boat Explosion
RUTLAND, VERMONT — July 3, 2018
Two people were killed and several others injured when a cruise ship touring the Bahamas exploded this Tuesday. Those onboard were a group of tourists on their way to island of Exuma for a camping trip. The explosion sent massive flames and plumes of smoke soaring into the air. One of the witnesses, Chris Topperwien, photographed the explosion as it occurred.
Stefanie Schaffer, a Rutland resident, was severely injured in the blast and is now in a medically-induced coma in a local hospital. No information is yet available on whether one of the two killed, an American woman, died in the blaster or later in the hospital from the injuries she sustained. Her relatives requested that her name be withheld.
They jumped into the water. In total there were twelve passengers on board, including 10 American tourists and two Bahamians. Witnesses on a nearby boat rushed to attempt to rescue survivors.
Four of the injured Americans on the boat were immediately airlifted to a hospital in St. Petersburg (Florida) with the help of the US Coastguard and rescue helicopters following the explosion.
Exuma and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper confirmed that two women had died and two others, Schaffer and her mother, are in an extremely critical condition in the Nassau hospital. The Schaffer's teenage daughter Brooke and their stepfather Paul Bender are alive in normal condition.
"This is a sad day for Exuma and a sad day for our American friends," Cooper stated in response to the incident. "We are saddened and our hearts our hurting, but we will get through this together. Your prayers, as always, are needed and appreciated."
The company that organized and ran the trip is now under investigation, as well as the manufacturer of the vessel.
Stefanie is currently too unstable to be flown back to the United States.
"She's in really critical care right now and in really serious shape. She has shattered one of her legs and suffered multiple broken bones and serious internal injuries," doctors said, "We are compelled to report that we had to amputate her both legs."
Many of the other passengers survived with just a few scratches and bruises.
The girl's relatives are naturally worried, and impatient for her to be returned home. They added that Stefanie is a 'very outgoing' , a dancer who recently graduated college. "It is a terrifying prospect that she gets on feet never." said one of her relatives. "And the scary thing is Stefanie doesn't know that she's lost her legs." he said.
A GoFundMe campaign has since been launched by the family in order to raise money for Stefanie and Stacey's medical expenses. The relatives believe that Stefanie will soon be strong enough to be flown back to Florida for further medical treatment.
The exact cause of the explosion is currently under investigation by the Exuma branch of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.