On Thursday evening (July 19), Tia Coleman lost nine members of her family to a duck boat accident in Branson, Missouri. According to ABC News, the boat (a tourist attraction that travels on the Table Rock Lake) capsized in 80 feet of water due to inclement weather. Coleman’s husband, her three children (9, 7, 1) and other family members that included her in-laws and uncle drowned. Coleman says the boat’s captain told the passengers to disregard wearing life jackets.
KOLR10 adds that Coleman and her Indianapolis family, who were on vacation, missed their initial boat ride after they arrived at the incorrect company named “Ride The Ducks.” Due to the mishap, Coleman decided to go forth with a 6:30 p.m. journey. Storms started to roll in around 7 p.m.
Coleman described the moment before the boat capsized as terrifying, stating the last thing she heard was her sister-in-law say “grab the baby.” The child was a year old, the youngest of the victims. Alongside Coleman, her 13-year-old nephew survived the incident.
Winds that clocked in at 60mph played an integral role in ravaging the boat. Out of 31 passengers, 17 died including those that ranged from a father and his son to a pair that was commemorating 45 years of marriage. The captain, Robert Williams, also died in the incident.
An investigation is still ongoing.