Tennessee Mom Killed in Bahamas Tour Boat Explosion Was Celebrating Her 15th Wedding Anniversary

The American woman killed during a tour boat explosion in the Bahamas on Saturday was a devoted mother who had been celebrating her 15th wedding anniversary with her husband when tragedy struck.

Maleka Jackson, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was enjoying a romantic getaway with her husband, Tiran Jackson,  when the engine of a small tour boat they were riding on suddenly exploded around 9 a.m. off the coast of Barraterre Island, according to CBS and ABC News.

Jackson’s father, Malvin Grimes, told CBS that she was a loving mother to her 12-year-old son.

“Maleka would be I guess what I call a shooting star,” Grimes said. “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.”

According to CNN, 10 American tourists and two Bahamians were on board the 40-foot chartered boat when the engine exploded.Video footage obtained by WFFF showed people jumping from a nearby boat and swimming to the burning vessel. Four Americans were airlifted to a Florida hospital, according to CNN.

Grimes told CBS that Tiran suffered burns and was taken to a Florida hospital.

Before setting off on the trip, the couple dropped off their young son to stay with family in Nashville, Grimes told WJLA. Grimes said Jackson’s son has learned of her death and understands the “eternal place of his mom.”

Relatives have set up a GoFundMe page for the family.

“Maleka was a loving Mom, dedicated wife, grateful daughter and supportive friend,” a post on the fundraiser reads. “She will be greatly missed and her legacy will live on forever. Thank you in advance for your support of the Jackson family.”

Among the injured was 22-year-old Stefanie Schaffer, her sister Brook and her mother Stacey Bender.

“Stefanie sustained life threatening injuries including a double amputation and remains in critical condition,” the family wrote on a GoFundMe page for the victims, writing that the incident was the beginning of “a life long struggle for this family.” “Stacey suffered multiple broken bones and internal injuries. Paul and Brooke suffered bruises and cuts.”

In an update on Tuesday, family members wrote on the GoFundMe page that Schaffer, a dancer, went into surgery shortly after the family arrived in Florida.

“The fight continues. After Stefanie landed in Florida she went straight into surgery,” the update reads. “She faces more challenges and we need all the love and support to continue. Prayers are needed for Stefanie and the family, as they continue this path. Stacey has arrived as well and will need surgery too.”

In a Facebook post, Schaffer’s brother, George, wrote that although Brook and Paul walked away from the incident with minor injuries “my mom and Stef weren’t so lucky.”

He wrote that Schaffer also suffered two broken arms, a broken wrist, a fractured spine and internal injuries to her kidneys, spleen and liver.

Authorities have not identified the cause of the explosion and the Royal Bahamas Police Force is investigating the incident, according to CNN.

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