Stefanie Schaffer of Rutland, Vermont, is in a medically induced coma at a hospital in Nassau, Bahamas. The 22-year-old was onboard a tour boat on a family vacation when the boat’s engine exploded on Saturday morning. One person, an American woman, has died and several others were seriously injured.
Schaffer was on the boat with her mom, Stacey, her sister, Brooke, and her stepdad, Paul. Stacey was also badly injured, sustaining multiple broken bones and other internal injuries. Brooke and Paul suffered minor injuries.
The family had been on a boat heading to the island of Exuma when one of the boat’s engines exploded just after 9 a.m. local time. The cause of the explosion is currently under investigation.
Stefanie Schaffer is listed in critical condition.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. She Is too Unstable to Be Flown to the United States & Had Both of Her Legs Amputated
Many of the injured tourists were flown to St. Petersburg, Florida, for medical treatment. Stefanie Schaffer was rushed to a nearby hospital in the Bahamas, unable to be airlifted to a hospital in the United States because of the severity of her injuries.
“She’s in really critical care right now and in really serious shape. I know she has really bad internal injuries,” a relative told the Daily Mail.
Stefanie had both of her legs amputated shortly after arriving at the hospital. She also needs surgery on her spine “for an L1 lumbar disk fracture.”
Stefanie remains in a medically induced coma at Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau.
2. A GoFundMe Page Has Been Set up to Help With Medical Bills
Shortly after the accident, a GoFundMe page was set up in order to help the family with medical bills for both Stefanie and Stacey.
“We are raising funds for the medical and travel expenses. With the support of the family, we have launched a GoFundMe page, in hopes to raise $50,000.00. We know their expenses will far exceed this as this becomes a life long struggle for this family,” reads the page’s description.
As of Monday morning, more than $21,000 had been raised to support the family.
3. Her Mom Is also in Critical Condition
Stefanie’s mom, Stacey Bender (pictured above right), is also listed in critical condition at the same hospital in Nassau. Stacey, 50, fractured both of her legs in the explosion and will need surgery.
Stacey is also a patient at Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau. It’s unknown if she has been able to see Stefanie or if the two are together in the same room in the ICU.
4. She Recently Graduated from College & Has Been a Dancer for Much of Her Life
Stefanie Schaffer is a recent college graduate, sources told the media. According to a LinkedIn page that appears to belong to Schaffer, she is set to graduate from Coastal Carolina University in December.
“I am a hard working student at Coastal Carolina University. I value sports, academics, and my personal relationships with family and friends,” reads her LinkedIn bio.
She is also a dancer. Her brother, George, told ABC News that his sister “danced her whole childhood.” George and his dad, George Sr., were heading to the Bahamas to be with the rest of the family.
“Thank you to everyone who has reached out to my family and I. It is your ongoing support that is going to get us through this,” Stefanie’s brother wrote on Facebook on Sunday. “Hang in there Stef I’m on my way,” read another post.
“The scary thing is Stefanie doesn’t know that she’s lost her legs, and that’s what really upsets me. She’s going to wake up from this coma and realize ‘I don’t have any legs.’ It’s breaking my heart,” an unnamed relative told the Daily Mail.
5. Family Members of Other People Injured on the Boat Have Asked for Prayers for Her & Her Mom
Stefanie and Stacey have been receiving large amounts of support since the accident occurred. Another family on the boat is going through similar challenges, as teen Haiden Jones was injured, as was his brother, Kyle, his mom, Sheila, and her boyfriend, John Inman.
“Prayers needed my son Haiden was on vacation in the Bahamas with friends and family when their charter boat exploded and caught fire! My son Haiden his brother Kyle his Mother Sheila, boyfriend John, girlfriend Brooke and Paul are all ok just cuts and bruises,” Haiden’s dad, CJ, wrote on Facebook.
He also asked for prayers for Stefanie and her mom.
“Many prayers needed for Stacey Bender and Stephanie Schaffer. Last update Stacey and her daughter [Stefanie] still in the ICU,” he wrote.
You can see a video of the boat on fire in the ocean below.