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Former CCU student critically injured in Bahamas boat explosion

Stefanie Schaffer -
Stefanie Schaffer -

A former Coastal Carolina University student had to have both of her legs amputated after a tour boat she was aboard exploded in the Bahamas on Saturday.

The explosion off the coast of Exuma killed one and injured nine others, including 22-year-old Stefanie Schaffer, according to ABC News.

Schaffer's brother, George, posted on Facebook about the incident. He said both of his sisters, Stefanie and Brooke, were on the boat with their mother and stepfather Stacey and Paul Bender.

"My step dad and youngest sister were lucky enough to walk away with minor injuries but my mom and Stef weren't so lucky," George wrote on Monday. "My mom currently has a fractured lower right leg, a shattered left ankle that is going to require surgery, a fractured right wrist, at least 2 broken ribs, and a contusion on her lungs.

"Stef had to have both of her legs amputated below her knees, 2 broken arms one of which is going to require surgery, a broken wrist that is going to require surgery, a fractured spine that is going to require surgery, as well as internal injuries to her kidneys spleen and liver."

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.

Schaffer, a Vermont native, was enrolled at CCU as a public health major from fall 2014 to spring 2017, said Caroline Smith, a CCU spokeswoman.

She is currently a senior at Castleton University, a liberal arts school in Vermont.

"We are shocked and saddened to hear the news that senior Stefanie Schaffer and her family were involved in such a tragic accident," the university wrote on Facebook.

A GoFundMe page set up to help cover medical and travel expenses for the Schaffer family has raised over $100,000 within one day.

An update on the page says the family made it to a Florida hospital where Stefanie and Stacey will undergo surgery. They were initially treated for their injuries at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau, Bahamas.

The incident is under investigation by the Exuma branch of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, CNN reports.

Michaela Broyles: 843-626-0281, @MichaelaBroyles

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