Tia Coleman wants 'death trap' duck boats banned

3 months 5 days 3 hours ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 4:56:00 PM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
By: Steve Almasy and Amanda Watts, CNN

(CNN) -- The Indiana woman who lost nine members of her family in a duck boat sinking last month in Missouri wants the amphibious vehicles banned.

"Duck boats are death traps, nobody else should have to go through that," said Tia Coleman, who survived the accident in Table Rock Lake near Branson.

She said Tuesday that her family was starting an online petition to make the Ride the Duck Boats Branson company "responsible for what they did to my children."

Coleman and 10 members of her family were on the boat, operated by Ride the Ducks Branson, which sank during a storm July 19, killing 17 people. Coleman's 13-year-old nephew also survived, as did a dozen others. She lost her husband, three children and five other relatives.

Talking with reporters Tuesday while surrounded by family members at her house, Coleman said she wants to help prevent other people from a similar loss, one she thinks was preventable.

The accident is the subject of two federal investigations to determine the cause and a state investigation to see whether anyone is criminally liable for what happened.

Coleman said she is still a "mess of emotions" and there is "nothing that can right the wrong, because I can't get (my loved ones) back."

Fighting back tears, Coleman said her house in Indianapolis is quiet now that her three children and husband aren't there. "It's a house now, it's just not a home anymore," she said.

Duck boats are amphibious vessels that travel on both land and water, and are popular among tourists in major cities. The boats' history dates to World War II, when such vessels were a common sight because of their versatility.

In Branson, they are driven along city streets for part of their tours before the driver uses a ramp to enter the lake and turns the steering wheel over to a captain, who pilots the vessel on the water.

Earlier this month, the administrators of the estates of two members of the Coleman family who died filed a wrongful death lawsuit seeking $100 millionin damages from the operator of the duck boat.

When the vessel started sinking, a canopy trapped the passengers and dragged them to the bottom of the lake, attorney Robert Mongeluzzi told reporters.

The boat sank 40 feet and then rolled to an area 80 feet deep, Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said.

The passengers might have survived if the Branson operators had not ignored a 2002 National Transportation Safety Board recommendation that duck boat canopies be removed, Mongeluzzi said.

The lawsuit alleges that Ripley Entertainment, Ride the Ducks International, Ride the Ducks Branson, Herschend Family Entertainment and Amphibious Vehicle Manufacturing knew before the catastrophe that the duck boat industry was "entirely unfit to be used for any purpose and had previously been responsible for dozens of deaths."

Suzanne Smagala, a spokeswoman for Ripley Entertainment, said in a statement: "We remain deeply saddened by the tragic accident that occurred in Branson and we are supportive of the affected families. The investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board is still underway and no conclusions have been reached. We cannot comment at this time."

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill has introduced a bill looking at improving safety regulations for amphibious vessels.

"It'll take some time before we know exactly what went wrong in Branson, but there's absolutely no reason to wait to take this commonsense step," she said two weeks ago.

The measure is Senate Bill 3301.

It would make law the recommendations that were proposed by the NTSB in its 2002 report.

More News

Grid
List
(CNN) -- While hundreds of families wait in agony to learn the fate of missing loved ones, officials gave a... More >>
4 hours ago Sunday, November 18 2018 Nov 18, 2018 Sunday, November 18, 2018 10:18:00 PM CST November 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A St. Louis woman is headed to California and collecting donations along the way to help the victims... More >>
5 hours ago Sunday, November 18 2018 Nov 18, 2018 Sunday, November 18, 2018 9:33:00 PM CST November 18, 2018 in News
OZARK (AP) — Springfield's yoga community is speaking out after a pastor at an Assemblies of God megachurch warned Christians... More >>
5 hours ago Sunday, November 18 2018 Nov 18, 2018 Sunday, November 18, 2018 9:15:00 PM CST November 18, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (all times local): 10:55 a.m. ... More >>
10 hours ago Sunday, November 18 2018 Nov 18, 2018 Sunday, November 18, 2018 4:59:00 PM CST November 18, 2018 in News
OMAHA (AP) — The Federal Reserve says farm income continued to decline across the Plains and western states this fall... More >>
11 hours ago Sunday, November 18 2018 Nov 18, 2018 Sunday, November 18, 2018 3:32:00 PM CST November 18, 2018 in News
BOONE COUNTY - One woman is in custody Sunday after a shooting late Saturday night on North Wester Lane, just... More >>
13 hours ago Sunday, November 18 2018 Nov 18, 2018 Sunday, November 18, 2018 2:00:00 PM CST November 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Turkey Day came early for people in Columbia on Saturday. The Shiloh Christian Worship Center hosted its... More >>
15 hours ago Sunday, November 18 2018 Nov 18, 2018 Sunday, November 18, 2018 11:18:00 AM CST November 18, 2018 in News
SAVANNAH (AP) — A cat owner in northwestern Missouri is crafting makeshift shelters to help keep stray cats warm during... More >>
16 hours ago Sunday, November 18 2018 Nov 18, 2018 Sunday, November 18, 2018 11:05:00 AM CST November 18, 2018 in News
BOONE COUNTY - One person was hospitalized Saturday evening after a shooting just east of Columbia, the Boone County Sheriff's... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 17 2018 Nov 17, 2018 Saturday, November 17, 2018 11:01:00 PM CST November 17, 2018 in News
LAKE OZARK - Community members gathered Saturday to raise money for the Police Unity Tour. Every year, police officers... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 17 2018 Nov 17, 2018 Saturday, November 17, 2018 7:12:00 PM CST November 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A Columbia man is home from the hospital Saturday after spending three weeks in the ICU, recovering from... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 17 2018 Nov 17, 2018 Saturday, November 17, 2018 6:58:00 PM CST November 17, 2018 in News
PHELPS COUNTY - One man was airlifted to the hospital Saturday morning after he suffered "a large caliber gunshot wound... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 17 2018 Nov 17, 2018 Saturday, November 17, 2018 4:46:00 PM CST November 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Fall Into Art kicked off the weekend with its annual show, and artists shared what their art means... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 17 2018 Nov 17, 2018 Saturday, November 17, 2018 3:50:00 PM CST November 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - One of the largest holiday shopping events in mid-Missouri takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Columbia Exposition... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 17 2018 Nov 17, 2018 Saturday, November 17, 2018 2:20:00 PM CST November 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - From the amateurs to the professional travel teams, dodgeball players of all skill sets took part in the... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 17 2018 Nov 17, 2018 Saturday, November 17, 2018 2:05:00 PM CST November 17, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - A chase that reached speeds of 115 mph and a subsequent foot pursuit led to the arrest... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 17 2018 Nov 17, 2018 Saturday, November 17, 2018 12:50:00 PM CST November 17, 2018 in News
Royal Palm Beach, FL ( WPTV ) -- Firefighters rescued several pets from a house fire in Royal Palm Beach... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 17 2018 Nov 17, 2018 Saturday, November 17, 2018 11:45:00 AM CST November 17, 2018 in News
COLE COUNTY - Another fatal crash occurred in Missouri early Saturday morning. 30 year-old Richard Lowry, of Eugene, was pronounced... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, November 17 2018 Nov 17, 2018 Saturday, November 17, 2018 5:57:00 AM CST November 17, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 34°
4am 32°
5am 31°
6am 31°
7am 30°