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The Tragic Story Behind The Mother Who Lost 9 Loved Ones on the Duck Boat Disaster

Eleven members of the Coleman family joined together in Branson, Missouri for a family trip not knowing that only two would survive an accident on a duck boat.

Only Tia Coleman and her nephew survived the incident on Table Rock Lake. Coleman lost her husband and three children when the boat capsized.


The captain did say something about life jackets. He said ‘above you are your life jackets. There’s three sizes.’ He said ‘I’m gonna show you where they are, but you won’t need them so no need to worry.’ So we didn’t grab them.

Coleman said she did not know what had happened when the water rushed into the boat and she could not see anything. The only thing she knew was that she must be toward the bottom of the lake because the water was much colder than the temperature at the surface.

As she tried to float toward the surface, she remembered praying, “Lord, I got to get to my babies. Help me get to my babies,” adding, “Lord, if I can’t make it, there’s no use keeping me here.”

When Coleman surfaced, she waved her arms in the water and shouted for help to a nearby boat.

“They were jumping in and saving people. They were throwing life rafts out to everybody, but I couldn’t reach it. I didn’t get there in time. Somehow I managed to get to the boat. These beautiful people, angels? I don’t know who they were. They pulled me up.”

Coleman is still devasted by the fact that life jackets could have saved her family members.

“The biggest thing that stood out to is, no matter what, 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. And I wasn’t able to do that.”

In total, 17 died on the capsized boat. A Go Fund Me account started to help out the Coleman family already raised more than $300,000.

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