Rutland women injured in Bahamas explosion are back in US


Two Vermont women seriously injured in a boat explosion in the Bahamas are back in the United States, said a family friend.

Stefanie Schaffer, 22, and her mother Stacey Schaffer were on vacation with family Saturday when the tour boat they were on burst into flames after an explosion. A woman from Tennessee died in the blast; the Schaffers were among at least nine other people who were hurt.

Stefanie had both legs amputated at Princess Margaret Hospital in the Bahamas and remains in critical condition. Stacey Schaffer suffered multiple broken bones and internal injuries. The family worked with American and Bahamian officials to get Stefanie, Stacey and the rest of the family — which included her stepfather and Stefanie’s younger sister — back to the States.

They’re in an unnamed hospital in south Florida and are surrounded by family, said Amy Merrill, who has set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses.

“Stefanie is a fighter. She’s a wonderful young woman who has a huge life in front of her and we just need to keep the good thoughts and prayers going her way. She’s got a tough road ahead of her,” Merrill said.

Haiden Jones was a passenger on the tour boat. He’s the boyfriend of Stefanie Schaffer’s younger sister, Brooke Schaffer.

“I just heard a loud explosion and I was shot up and I don’t know if I hit the ceiling or something,” he told ABC News. “I landed and I hit something. I rose to my feet and I saw Brooke in front of me and I looked around and I saw the man on the ground with his foot kind of twisted in the opposite direction.”

The GoFundMe page for the Schaffer family has raised more than $100,000 from more than 1,700 donors, Merrill said.

Stefanie’s former dance studio instructor also started a GoFundMe page.

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