Missouri duck boat survivor says captain told passengers 'not to worry about life jackets'

A community is grieving after the deaths of 17 people in the boat accident in Missouri — including nine members of one family. (Photo: AP)

A survivor of the Missouri tourist boat accident who lost nine relatives in the tragedy said the captain told passengers not to bother grabbing life jackets.

Tia Coleman said she and a nephew were the only survivors of their family group of 11 who were aboard the duck boat.

Seventeen people died when the pleasure boat capsized. Divers found the final four bodies on Friday in Table Rock Lake near Branson.

Coleman told an Indianapolis television station that she lost all of her children in the tragedy, which was the deadliest of its kind in nearly two decades.

People have paid tribute to the 17 people who lost their lives in the tragedy. (Photo: AP)

“The captain told us, ‘Don’t worry about grabbing the life jackets; you won’t need them,’ so nobody grabbed them because we listened to the captain and he told us to stay seated,” Coleman said. “However in doing that, when it was time to grab them, it was too late. I believe that a lot of people could have been spared.”

Nine of the victims came from the Coleman’s family; they were from Indiana and were on vacation. Four of the family members who died were children, all younger than 10.

Arya Coleman, 1, was the youngest victim; Ervin Coleman, 76, was the oldest.

Memorials have been held in Missouri, with 300 people gathered in the car park of Ride the Ducks of Branson.


Belinda Coleman, 69
Glenn Coleman, 40
Horace “Butch” Coleman, 70
Ervin Raymond Coleman, 76
Angela Coleman, 45
Evan Coleman, 7
Reece Coleman, 9
Maxwell Coleman, 2
Arya Coleman, 1
William Asher, 69
Rosemarie Hamann, 68
Janice Bright, 63
William Bright, 65
Leslie Dennison, 64
Bob Williams, 73
Lance Smith, 15
Steve Smith, 53

Investigators have suggested that the accident was caused by thunderstorms and high winds, leading to questions about why the amphibious vehicle was even on the water.

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