Survivor recounts boat accident that killed 9 family members

by Garry Watts July 23, 2018, 0:28
Survivor recounts boat accident that killed 9 family members

Nine members of one extended family from IN - all with the Coleman surname - died.

She could not believe she heard the name Coleman while watching the news out of Branson, Missouri on Saturday morning. The boat struggled against the turbulent waves on Table Rock Lake, a normally placid body of water churned by a violent thunderstorm. The vehicle sank in water 55 deep after colliding with a 250-foot sludge barge called The Resource towed by a 79-foot tugboat called Caribbean Sea, according to the NTSB.

The sheriff's department identified the IN family members as 45-year-old Angela Coleman, 1-year-old Arya Coleman, 69-year-old Belinda Coleman, 76-year-old Ervin Coleman, 7-year-old Evan Coleman, 40-year-old Glenn Coleman, 70-year-old Horace Coleman, 2-year-old Maxwell Coleman, and 9-year-old Reece Coleman.

From her hospital bed, Tia Coleman relived the terrifying moments when the boat capsized and she almost drowned.

Tia Colemans husband and all of her three children died. She said she lost all her children, but she did not say how many.

Kyrie Rose, whose husband is a member of the Coleman family, said the family enjoyed their annual journey and get-together. Tias voice was calm on the phone, and Carolyn assumed she was probably still in shock, as if the weight of her loss had yet to take its toll. Earlier, from her hospital bed, she recounted to television station KOLR her sister-in-law's last words.

"I said, 'Lord, please, I've gotta get to my babies". I just remember, 'I've got to get out, I've got to get out.'"Coleman said she hit her head on part of the boat, and the water was ice-cold, and she knew she was near the bottom of the lake".

A survivor from the family who lost nine relatives said the captain told passengers not to bother grabbing life jackets.

The U.S. Coast Guard said the boat that sank was built in 1944 and had passed an inspection in February, The Kansas City Star reported. "Nobody, nobody - when that boat is found, all those life jackets are going to be on there". Fourteen people survived, including two adults.

The tragedy was a sudden departure from what had been, for many, a handsome summer day in the Midwestern retreat. But when the water filled up the boat. "Right now, were hurting and were not smiling". "They're not fit for water or land because they are half vehicle and half boat". "Somehow I managed to get to the boat and these handsome people, angels. they pulled me up. They were starting to panic", Tomasetti said, noting that he wanted to help in any way possible.

A private inspector said Saturday that he warned Ripley Entertainment, the company operating the duck boats, about design flaws putting the watercraft at greater risk of sinking, less than a year before the accident. Tomasetti stood in the front of the crowd in the embrace of his loved ones, all in tears. Josh Daniel, who lives nearby, placed one flower on each auto earlier that day. A total of nine members of her family perished.

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"I'm not going to rest until we get something in the law on a national basis that does a better job of regulating the safety of amphibious vehicles", she told CNN on Friday.

"If it wasnt for them people, we wouldnt have a town", said Stephen Lyons, who is in construction and often works on vacation homes in Branson.

Death toll: The duck boat in trouble at Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri.

Branson, near the Arkansas border with a population of 10,500, sees about 8 million tourists annually and is a destination for country music, amusement parks and outdoor activities.

More: Sunken Branson duck boat had a video recorder.

"If you have the information that you could have rough waters or a storm coming, why ever put a boat on that water?"

Company President Jim Pattison Jr said the boat captain had 16 years of experience, and the business monitors weather. The boat went down about 40 minutes later, shortly after 7 p.m.

"Why did that boat even go out?"

Chance also brought the Colemans aboard the doomed vessel.

While the boat's driver on water, 51-year-old Kenneth McKee, survived; its driver on land, 73-year-old Bob Williams, did not.

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