Survivors of fatal Bahamas boat explosion speak out for the first time


Passengers who survived the fatal Bahamas boat explosion on Saturday are speaking about their experience for the first time.

Sheila Jones, her son Haiden Jones and John Inman spoke exclusively to ABC News about the moments leading up to the fiery explosion off the coast of Exuma and how they helped Stefanie Schaffer, the 22-year-old woman who lost both of her legs.

Related: 1 dead, 9 injured as tour boat explodes in Bahamas

“We were picking up speed and enjoying the ride. It was a brisk ride, it was beautiful,” Inman said. “And I would say probably three minutes into the ride is when the right side of the boat exploded. Stefanie was seated on the right side in the front so she was probably closest to the explosion.”

According to Inman, the water was just a few feet deep — shallow enough to stand in.

“We used plywood and some 2-by-6s basically as gurneys to get the passengers to shore,” Inman said.

Once they were on shore, a good Samaritan rushed Stacey and Stefanie to the hospital, which was about 30 minutes away.

“I wouldn’t leave Stefanie’s side,” Sheila Jones said, “because all I could think about if that was my child I would want someone there.”

Stefanie, the sister of Haiden’s girlfriend, Brooke, is currently in a medically induced coma in a Florida hospital. Their mother Stacey, who was also on the boat, was severely injured as well.

The boat explosion killed Maleka Jackson, an American who was celebrating her 15th wedding anniversary with her husband Tyran Jackson. Tyran also sustained injuries. In total, nine people were injured, according to authorities.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss