Duck Boat Passenger Tia Coleman Loses 9 Family Members in Tragic Accident

Seventeen out of 31 passengers died in a duck boat accident on Thursday in Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri, after a storm caused the boat to sink. Nine of them were family members.

Tia Coleman, a survivor of the accident, was related to those nine family members. They included her husband, 40, and three children, 9, 7 and 1. The only other survivor in her family was her 13-year-old nephew.

In an interview, Coleman recounts her survival.

Coleman said when getting on the boat, the captain informed the passengers aboard that there were life jackets, but that they didn’t need to wear them. Additionally, the canopy was on and the windows were sealed.

During a press conference, Coleman said she believes had she secured life jackets for her babies, they’d still be here.

“The biggest thing that stood out to me is, no matter what, I felt like if I was able to get a life jacket, I could have saved my babies. Cause they could have at least floated up to the top, and somebody could’ve grabbed them,” Coleman says holding back tears. “And I wasn’t able to do that.”

The last thing Coleman heard before the boat sink was a scream from her sister-in-law, “Grab the baby!” Now Coleman doesn’t know how she’ll cope going home, but she knows she’ll need the support of those around her.

All with the surname Coleman, Tia’s nine family members that passed were Angela, 45; Belinda, 69; Ervin, 76; Glenn, 40; Horace, 70; Reece, 9; Evan, 7; Maxwell, 2; and Arya, 1.

If you’d like to support Tia Coleman, her nephew and the rest of their family financially, I’ve found a verified GoFundMe account, authenticated to ABC: https://www.gofundme.com/branson-duck-boat-survivor. The proceeds will directly benefit the family.

The other eight fatalities in the duck boat accident include William Asher, 69; Rosemarie Hamann, 68; Janice Bright, 63; William Bright, 65; Steve Smith, 53; and Lance Smith, 15; Leslie Dennison, 64; and the boat driver Robert “Bob” Williams, 73.

Lord, please keep Tia, her nephew and all of the family and friends impacted by this tragedy.

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Bryant Lydell

Bryant Lydell is creative, personable and quick-witted Howard and USC alum. He's the founder of The Top Tea, a songwriter, screenwriter and member of the casting team for Netflix's NAACP Image Award-winning hip-hop competition series Rhythm + Flow.

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