Survivor describes family members she lost

Tia Coleman describes losing nine members of her family in a duck boat incident and how she wants people to remember her loved ones.

Posted: Jul 23, 2018 8:21 AM
Updated: Jul 23, 2018 8:36 AM

The 17 people who died in the duck boat tragedy last week in southwestern Missouri were not wearing life jackets when found, a source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN Sunday.

The Ride the Ducks Branson amphibious vessel had 31 people on board when it set sail Thursday on Table Rock Lake near the Missouri tourist mecca of Branson as a severe thunderstorm whipped up intense winds and waves. A treacherous squall sank the boat.

There were life jackets on the boat, but passengers weren't required to wear them, according to Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader. Rader said over the weekend he didn't know if people were wearing them.

Tia Coleman, one of the 14 survivors, said passengers were told there was a storm coming before the trip. The captain mentioned the life jackets before they went on the lake but said, "you won't need them so we didn't grab them," Coleman said Saturday.

"The captain did say something about life jackets. He said, above you are the life jackets, there are three sizes, but you won't need them," Coleman said Saturday night.

She told CNN affiliate KOLR: "When that boat is found, all those life jackets are going to be on there because nobody pulled one off."

Coleman, who lost nine family members, said she thinks she could have saved her children if she had been able to get them life jackets.

"I felt like, if I was able to get a life jacket I could have saved my babies because they could have at least floated up to the top and somebody could have grabbed them," she told reporters at Cox Medical Center Branson, where she was hospitalized.

In an exchange over Facebook, survivor Talyssa Mann, 19 of Carlsbad, New Mexico, said Coleman's statement about the life jackets was correct.

The boat sank 40 feet and then rolled to an area 80 feet deep, according to Rader.

The dead victims ranged in age from 1 to 76 years, authorities said.

State investigators are looking into whether any criminal acts were committed, according to Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley. The National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating the cause of the sinking.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15229

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds99925
Lauderdale73561
Madison72023
Scott65012
Neshoba63038
Jones59825
Forrest55338
DeSoto5337
Rankin4217
Leake42112
Holmes39728
Copiah3104
Jackson30513
Attala29216
Yazoo2734
Newton2714
Leflore25831
Harrison2577
Lincoln25628
Monroe25525
Lamar2355
Oktibbeha23512
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Pike20211
Adams19615
Noxubee1856
Wayne1771
Warren1719
Washington1687
Covington1652
Bolivar16011
Jasper1574
Smith15011
Lee1496
Kemper14411
Clarke14318
Chickasaw13312
Lafayette1314
Coahoma1214
Carroll11711
Marion1159
Clay1124
Winston1121
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Yalobusha905
Hancock9011
Tate891
Grenada893
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Union835
Marshall833
Montgomery831
Sunflower813
Jefferson Davis772
Tippah7311
Panola703
Webster691
Calhoun644
Humphreys607
Amite601
Walthall550
Tunica543
Prentiss523
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Tishomingo320
Pontotoc323
Stone300
Franklin282
Tallahatchie271
Quitman260
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene121
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 61°
Columbus
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 60°
Oxford
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 55°
Starkville
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 55°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather