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FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Bahamian police are still working to determine what went wrong when a tour boat exploded and caught fire Saturday.
Maleka Jackson, who was celebrating her 15th wedding anniversary, was killed in the blast.
“Maleka would be I guess what I call a shooting star,” said her father Malvin Grimes.
Grimes said she was a loving mother to her 12-year-old son and believed in giving back to her community.
“She had a life that kind of stayed straight on the course and it was a life that brought a lot of joy and a lot of support and love into the lives of others,” he said.
Her husband Tiran Jackson, who suffered fractures to his feet and spine, was flown from the Bahamas to Broward Health North in Deerfield Beach Monday night.
“It’s like a bomb went off,” says trauma surgeon Igor Nichiporenko, who is treating Jackson.
He says Jackson’s left foot had to be amputated.
“He’s in shock but emotionally, he’s strong,” says Nichiporenko.
He says Jackson had to call the couple’s son to tell him his mother was killed in the blast.
On Tuesday, the family issued a statement.
On behalf of the family, Tiran Jackson thanks everyone for their support and prayers. Tiran was seriously injured in the Bahamas boat accident, and he lost his beloved wife, Maleka. As you can imagine this is an incredibly difficult time for the family, especially Tiran and Maleka’s 12-year-old son. The family extends their gratitude to the U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas for their continued assistance and asks for privacy as they continue their journey to healing. For anyone who would like to support the family, a GoFundMe page has been established.
There were 10 Americans on the boat when it was engulfed in flames.
22-year-old Stefanie Schaffer of Vermont was also injured when the boat went up in flames.
She was on vacation in the Bahamas with her sister Brooke, their mother and stepfather.
Her uncle Mike Schaffer says Stefanie was sitting at the back of the boat when the engine exploded.
“Her legs, below her knees, had to be amputated,” said Mike Schaffer. “She used to be an avid ballet dancer and she played soccer. She was an excellent player.”
Unfortunately, the list of injuries suffered by Stefanie is not a short one.
“Due to the explosion, the more devastating injuries were to her extremities,” said Dr. Michael Parra. “But she also suffered injuries to her pelvis, abdomen, chest and she suffered a brain injury.”
Schaffer said the 22-year-old was put into a medically-induced coma.
“The brain injury is not operable,” said Dr. Christopher Roberts. “But it is something that can be treated medically.”
Stefanie’s mother Stacey was also severely injured and is being treated at Broward Health Medical center. She has a fractured leg and at least two broken ribs.
Schaffer said he’s still trying to process what happened.
“The family right now is everything. So many friends are reaching out. You see this stuff on TV, but to think it’s going to be somebody you know, and it’s my own blood, my own nieces and it’s a miracle that Stef’s even alive,” he said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for the Schaffer family that’s raised over $100,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.
“The family has been informed and we are doing everything we can in our power to help her through this,” said Dr. Parra.