Bahamas Four Cs Adventure Tours Excursion Boat Explosion (see video below) – On Saturday, June 30, 2018, Stefanie and Brooke Schaffer were traveling on vacation with their mother and stepfather, Stacey and Paul Bender. The family joined a Four C’s Adventures tour to enjoy the sights off the island of Exuma, Bahamas, which is located about 130 miles south of Nassau.
Four C’s Adventures is owned by Clayton Patterson Smith.
The Four C’s Adventures excursion boat bursts into flames shortly after 9:00 am. The boat was carrying 10 American tourists and two Bahamians at the time. According to the Royal Bahamas Police Force the tour boat was off Barraterre island in the Exuma Cays at the time of the explosion.
Maleka Grimes Jackson of Chattanooga, Tennessee has died; she has a a 12-year-old son. Jackson was celebrating her 15th wedding anniversary with husband Tiran Jackson; Tiran Jackson has undergone a leg amputation, he is in critical condition at Broward Health North in Pompano Beach.
The Jacksons were celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary, they booked a half day tour with Four C’s Adventures to snorkel, see the island’s world-famous swimming pigs on Pig Beach and even see a spot where The Bachelor was filmed.
Stefanie Schaffer sustained life threatening injuries including a double amputation and remains in critical condition. Stacey Bender suffered multiples broken bones and internal injuries. Schaffer, a dancer, is a senior at Castleton University in Vermont.
Paul Bender and Brooke Schaffer suffered bruises and cuts.
Swim with Pigs is very popular with tourists and is offered by several tour companies including Four Cs, “We now offer Swimming Pigs Tours from Nassau and Paradise Island. Including pick up from ALL major hotels, including Bahar Mar, Melia, Nassau Beach Hotel, Breezes Superclubs, Hilton and Atlantis on Paradise Island.”.
Why swim with the pigs? Trip Advisor says, “You can take a boat excursion to Big Major Cay from resorts and island outfitters. When the pigs hear the motors they come running out of the forest, across the beach, and into the turquoise waters. They piggy-paddle out, snouts upturned, to the boats to get their scraps. The pigs will hang around the boats as long as there is food to be had.”
According to Attorney Elliot Lockhart, “Patterson Smith developed an entire business of going to see the (swimming) pigs, and the Exuma community and certain outside entities are now tapped into that. Boats are going everyday but it was Patterson Smith’s brain child. He came out of jail in Cuba, came home, designed this business. He is responsible for building his own vessels. Pat built those boats and designed his business and this is the first incident, he’s had many, many successful runs. This is a purely unfortunate accident.”
The cause of the incident is still under investigation by the Exuma branch of the Royal Bahamas Police Force. Acting Port Controller Commander Raymond King confirmed during a press conference on Monday that no engine on the vessel exploded despite initial reports from the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
Operations at Four C’s Adventures have been suspended, according to Transport Minister Frankie Campbell. “It is normal procedure. There are number of other vessels that the company owns. I think it is prudent to ensure that everything is in order and that we can assure and guarantee safety as we move forward. It is not a finite decision. It is a temporary suspension of the operations until we are satisfied that we can move forward safely.”
Video: Bahamas officials probing tour-boat blast that killed US woman