Nine members of a family dead after being wrongly assigned to the duck boat which capsized
It has emerged that among the 17 victims who died in the Missouri boating tragedy nine people came from one family, as investigators focus on the safety of duck boats
Among the 17 people who died in the horrifying duck boat accident on Thursday night were nine members of the same family. What's more? They were not supposed to be on the boat in the first place. 70-year-old Horace "Butch" Coleman, from Indianapolis, was the patriarch of the Coleman family. After spending over 40 years volunteering in his local area, he was remembered by his neighborhood as a "community legend".
According to IndyStar, among others killed in the family were Horace's 69-year-old wife, Belinda Coleman, 76-year-old Irving Raymond Coleman, his brother, as well as 45-year-old Angela and 40-year-old Glenn, who were both Belinda's cousins.
I don't even have the words. I've just learned that a friend from Indianapolis lost 9 members of her family in the duck boat incident in Branson, Missouri. THREE GENERATIONS!! I can't! Please pray for the Coleman family and the Indianapolis community. pic.twitter.com/OOSs48vKv7— Daniel Miller (@Daniel_Miller8) July 21, 2018
Those were just the adults in the family, who lost their lives. Among children, seven-year-old Evan and 9-year-old Reece, both sons of Glenn, died in the tragic accident, along with his one-year-old daughter Arya and Angela's two-year-old son Maxwell. However, two other family members on the boat miraculously survived.
In a conversation with Fox 59, one of the survivors from the family, Tia Coleman, tearfully revealed that all of her children had died; and that it was just her and her nephew who survived the disaster. Apparently, the captain of the duck boat told passengers on the boat "don't worry about grabbing life jackets - you won't need them", Tia claims.
"When it was time to grab them, it was too late," she said. "A lot of people could have been spared." "My heart is very heavy," Tia said. "I lost all my children, my brother-in-law."
‘LORD, JUST LET ME DIE.”— Austin Kellerman (@AustinKellerman) July 21, 2018
Branson duck boat tragedy survivor Tia Coleman describes what she thought would be her final moments on earth.
She lost nine family members including her husband and children. #DuckBoatTragedy pic.twitter.com/ac804WR3QK
Furthermore, a woman revealed that she met the family before and said that they had tragically gone to the wrong pick up area. The woman in question, Tracy Beck of Kansas City, said that she was waiting in line for another boat with her family when the Colemans stopped for a group photograph. She says that they should have boarded at a different location in Branson, according to the ticket taker.
Beck says she recognized the family when pictures emerged on social media Friday and realized that they were mistakenly put on the boat that sank. The accident claimed some other lives as well, including a grandmother who died saving her 12-year-old granddaughter, a couple who were celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary, as well as a recently baptized 15-year-old boy. Along with them, Steve Smith, the Christian church deacon, and his son Lance, 15, died when the boat capsized.
The Christian Chronicle reported that Loren, Smith's daughter, survived the calamity while his wife Pamela was not on the boat. In an emotional Facebook post, Will Hester, a family friend, asked people to pray for the grieving family.
"[Lance] was like a son to me, and I will miss him greatly. He was the perfect example of humility and compassion. He cared about everyone," he wrote. "My heart breaks, but I know where [Lance and Steve] are, and I know I will see them again." Many others lost their lives in the terrifying accident, including 66-year-old Robert "Bob" Williams, who was driving the duck boat when it went down in the Table Rock Lake.
NEW VIDEO: This is video from the second duck boat that was also out on the water sent to us by Paul. He and family are visiting from Texas.— Andrew Havranek KY3 (@AndrewHavKY3) July 20, 2018
This boat made it back safely...but it shows how wild the lake conditions were. pic.twitter.com/fVpKuWDEy6
The sailor worked for a boat tour company called Ride the Ducks, which ran the vessel. On Friday, close relatives and well-wishers paid tribute to him and remembered him as a family man. Karen Abbot, Williams' sister, was heartbroken when she reached the car park. She called her brother her "best friend in the whole world" and her sister in law as someone she'd "loved for 47 years".
"Needless to say, I fell apart because I couldn't reach them on cell phones," Abbot said, demanding retribution for her loss. "[Ride the Ducks Branson] take people on water where no one knows how deep it is, in a vehicle that goes on land and water. They don’t make you wear life jackets! It’s ridiculous!" she said.
"I think this company should have their ass sued off of them and every penny they made should be returned to every victim that's ever lost their lives in this."
It has emerged that among the 17 victims who died in the Missouri boating tragedy nine people came from one family, as investigators focus on safety of "duck boats" https://t.co/5wWbdqTHC0 pic.twitter.com/p7x2s7gM6V— TRT World (@trtworld) July 21, 2018
Jim Pattison Jr., the president of Ripley Entertainment, which owns the boat, said it should not have been allowed to set sail in those conditions. "I don't have all the details, but to answer your question, no, it shouldn't have been in the water if, if what happened, happened. "This business has been operating for 47 years and we've never had an incident like this or anything close to it.
"To the best of our knowledge – and we don't have a lot of information now – but it was a fast-moving storm that came out of basically nowhere is sort of the verbal analysis I've got," he told CBS news. Pattison said that the boat's captain, who survived, had 16 years of experience with Ride the Ducks and added that no one was expecting such dire weather conditions.
"Usually the lake is very placid and it's not a long tour, they go in and kind of around an island and back. We had other boats in the water earlier and it had been a great, sort of calm experience," he said.
Speaking of Ride the Ducks, he said, "You know, they have a very good record. So, again, this seems to be sort of almost a micro-storm effect of something that no one was expecting to happen the way that it did."