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Father says Tennessee woman killed in weekend boat explosion in the Bahamas

(Photo via Chris Topperwien/MGN)

The father of a Chattanooga woman confirms to NewsChannel 9 that she died in a boat explosion in the Bahamas over the weekend.

The accident killed Maleka Grimes Jackson of Chattanooga, according to her father, Melvin Grimes.

The accident also injured 9 other people, including a 22-year-old American woman who had to have both of her legs amputated as a result of the blast.

There were 12 people on the boat -- 10 Americans and two Bahamas natives -- when it exploded at about 9 a.m. Saturday off the coast of Exuma.

Video filmed from a nearby boat showed panicked tourists jumping into the shallow water in an attempt to rescue passengers in the burning boat. Thick, black smoke was pouring into the sky and large flames were still shooting from the disabled craft.

Exuma police are now looking into the cause of the explosion.

Melvin says his daughter was vacationing with her husband Tyran Jackson, who was also on board when the boat went up in flames.

The two were celebrating their 15-year anniversary. Tyran is now in a Miami hospital with severe leg injuries.

Days before the Saturday boat explosion, Tyran and Maleka dropped their 12-year-old son off with family in Nashville. Melvin says explaining Maleka's death to her son was difficult, but his grandson understands the "eternal place of his mom."

Maleka's family spoke out today, saying she was "a light into the world." Her father Melvin Grimes and aunt Denise Smith says Maleka was a family-oriented mother.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced for Maleka Grimes Jackson.

This is a developing story. Depend on us to bring you more information as it becomes available.

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