Boat fire: Six injured at PMH, four transported to Florida

Glen Norman
July 4, 2018

A tropical vacation turned tragedy for an American family when their tour boat in the Bahamas exploded, killing one woman and injuring several others.

Stefanie Schaffer, 22, of Rutland, was left in critical condition, with both her legs amputated. She is now in a medically-induced coma in a Nassau, Bahamas hospital.

A GoFundMe page was created by the Schaffer family on Sunday to raise funds for medical and travel expenses.

According to a CNN report, the 40-foot tour boat was carrying tourists and two Bahamians before an engine exploded shortly after 9 a.m. They are being treated at hospitals in Pinellas County. Her mother Stacey also suffered a fractured leg and at least two broken ribs.

Her sister, Brooke, mother, Stacey, and stepfather, Paul Bender, were aboard the boat with her and were injured.

It is not yet clear what caused the explosion on the 40ft (12m) chartered vessel, minutes into the trip off Barraterre island in the Exuma Cays. Luckily, Paul and Brooke minor injuries, including bruises and cuts.

"This is a sad day for Exuma and a sad day for our American friends", said Chester Cooper, Exumas and Ragged Island MP, in a statement posted to Facebook.

"Her legs, below her knees, had to be amputated", Stefanie's uncle, Mike Schaffer said.

"We used plywood and some 2-by-6s basically as gurneys to get the passengers to shore", Inman said. Passengers on the neighboring boat can be seen shouting desperately to move their boat farther away in case there's another explosion.

The U.S. Coast Guard transported four Americans by airplane to a St. Petersburg, Fla., hospital, according to a news release.

Schaffer's brother, George, posted on Facebook about the incident.

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