The 22-year-old girl who lost her legs in a tour boat explosion as she was vacationing in the Bahamas has returned to her old hospital to thank the medics who saved her life.
Stefanie Schaffer of Rutland, Vermont, was vacationing with her family when the small boat she was on erupted in fire and shrapnel in the waters of Exuma on June 30.
Schaffer, a college student and talented dancer, suffered severe injuries in the blast and had to have both of her legs amputated below the knee.
After six months, more than 25 surgeries, and treatment from a team of 20 doctors, Schaffer finally started walking with prosthetics in November.
And last week Schaffer went back to her former caregivers at Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to give her thanks in a surprise visit.
Stefanie Schaffer, 22, who lost both of her legs when the tour boat she was on in the Bahamas exploded, returned to the hospital that saved her life to say thanks to the doctors who attended to her for six weeks. Pictured above with nurse Rafael Toloza (left) and Alison Corcoran (right)
Schaffer, of Rutland, Vermont, returned to Broward Health Medical Center on February 22. Schaffer is pictured center with mom Stacey Bender (left) and sister Brooke (right)
Schaffer smiles for a snap with Dr. Christopher Roberts, who shed tears upon seeing her. Roberts operated on her spine and was shocked to see her walking already
Schaffer says in the hospital she overheard medics saying it's a 'miracle' she's alive. She got the word tattooed on her as a daily reminder
The fiery boat explosion shocked the nation, leaving one American tourist dead and ten people injured.
Despite an investigation into what caused the blast, it's not clear exactly what triggered the explosion. Exuma Police said they were investigating the exact cause.
One woman who was on trip by the same tour boat company one day prior noted seeing extra gas tanks on her boat stationed near drivers that she suspected could have potentially led to a fire, Baum Hedlund Aristei Goldman.
Schaffer was on board with her younger sister Brooke, mother Stacey and step-father Paul Bender. Brooke and Paul managed to escape the blast with minor injuries, but Stacey also suffered serious injuries in the blast.
Schaffer and three other Americans were airlifted to the Florida hospital for treatment.
'Five minutes into it, the boat exploded right under my seat,' Schaffer said to the Sun Sentinel. 'Both of my legs were broken beyond repair.'
Schaffer suffered fractures to her left arm and right wrist, a broken left femur, broken pelvic bones, lacerations to her kidney and a fractured spine in the blast. Both of her lungs had