Nine Family Members Tragically Killed In Duck Boat Accident


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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter
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Nine members of an Indiana family were killed in a duck boat accident on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri, Thursday night.

They ranged in age from one-year-old Arya Coleman to 76-year-old Ervin Coleman, reported the Associated Press.

Seventeen of the 31 passengers on the duck boat died when it sank because of a sudden thunderstorm with tropical storm-level wind speeds. Four members of the Coleman family who died were children under the age of 10, reported ABC News. (RELATED: Seventeen People Dead After Duck Boat Capsizes On Missouri Lake During Thunderstorm)

Tia Coleman and her unnamed 13-year-old nephew were the only members of the Coleman family on the duck boat to survive the tragedy, reported ABC 7. Tia Coleman lost her husband and three children, who were nine, seven and one. The Coleman family was vacationing in the area, reported ABC News.

“The last thing I heard my sister-in-law yell was, “Grab the baby!'” Coleman recounted to ABC 7.

Coleman found herself swimming to reach the life jackets when the boat began taking on water.

“Everybody start getting like, ‘Hey? This is a little bit too much,’ and then it got really choppy and big swells of water started coming into the boat,” she told ABC 7. “I said, ‘Jesus just keep me, just keep me so I can get to my children, keep me Lord.’ And I can swim, and I was swimming as fast as I could, and I could not reach the life jackets. I swam over to the boat and I was holding on but my legs and arms were so heavy from trying.”

The duck boat crew had shown passengers where the life jackets were stowed, Coleman said.

“They told us, ‘Don’t worry about it, you won’t need it,'” she said. “When that boat is found, all those life jackets are going to be in there. You weren’t supposed to grab them unless you were in distress.”

At least 100 people attended a vigil at Ride the Ducks Branson on Friday night to honor the victims, reported the Missouri-based Springfield News-Leader. They left flowers on the hoods of two of the victims’ cars still parked there and sang “Amazing Grace” and “God Bless America.”

Most of the attendees did not know the victims, who were from four different states: Missouri, Arkansas, Indiana and Illinois, reported the AP.

The investigation into exactly what went wrong at Table Rock Lake could take up to one year, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, reported CNN.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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