Uncle: Ballet Dancer Doesn’t Know She Lost Legs in Bahama Boat Blast

Uncle: Ballet Dancer Doesn’t Know She Lost Legs in Bahama Boat Blast

News Staff

A lifelong ballet dancer and avid soccer player who was aboard a tour boat in the Bahamas when it exploded Saturday underwent a double amputation and remains in critical condition, family members said.

Stefanie Schaffer, 22, was one of 12 people — 10 U.S. citizens and two Bahamian crew members — who were on the boat when it exploded minutes into a day trip around the small islands near Great Exuma.  The blast killed an American and injured nine people.

Family members told NBC News that Schaffer, of Rutland, Vermont, had recently graduated college and was on a family vacation with her mother, sister and step-father, who were also hurt in the blast.

Brian Schaffer, Stephanie’s uncle, told NBC News in a Skype interview that his niece was seated right above the location of the blast and sustained life-threatening injuries, including broken bones and internal injuries, and had both legs amputated at the knees.

“I don’t think she knows she doesn’t have any legs left,” Brian Schaffer said, holding back tears.

He said his niece remains in critical condition in a medically induced coma at a Nassau hospital.

“Trying think of what her life’s going to be like and what we all need to do as a family to get her back to being that ballet dancer and soccer player. That’s what I want to do,” he said.

Stephanie’s sister, Brooke, suffered minor injuries, Brian said, while the girls’ mother sustained some broken bones and “we believe some internal bleeding, as well,” he added. They are also hospitalized in Nassau.

The U.S. Coast Guard airlifted four Americans to St. Petersburg, Florida, for treatment while six people were treated in Nassau. Authorities haven’t released the identity of the person who was killed.

Royal Bahamas Police Force Superintendent Shanta Knowles says officials from the country’s police, fire and civil aviation departments were on the island of Great Exuma on Monday conducting an investigation into the explosion and fire.