Missouri duck boat survivor recounts her experience

23 Juillet, 2018, 14:28 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
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She revealed that the captain told them life jackets weren't necessary before they set out.

In the last photo they took together, 11 members of the Coleman family are shown smiling and posing with a life preserver just before they boarded a duck boat in Branson, Missouri, for a voyage only two of them survived. Now, one of the survivors is opening up about the horrific tragedy. "We have to live in this world; they have gone to the other side", said Thomas, 51, of Indianapolis, whose cousin, Tia Coleman, was one of two members of the family to survive the accident at Table Rock Lake near Branson. Her nephew also survived. "My heart is very heavy". Her husband and three children, including a 1-year-old, all died. "I lost all my children", she said. "He said above you are your life jackets", said Tia Coleman. By the time of the accident, "it was too late".

"I truly believe in my heart that he died trying to save those people", one of Williams" neighbors, Charlie "Ray' Revill, said at a vigil Friday night.

Company President Jim Pattison Jr said the boat captain had 16 years of experience, and the business monitors weather.

Updates to the laws regulating duck boats have improved safety in MA, but the tragedy in Branson, Mo., that took the lives of 17 people may prompt another look, especially at the use of life jackets on the popular rides, said Gov. Charlie Baker.

Passengers from a nearby boat, who Coleman called "angels", threw her life preservers and jumped in the water to help her and others.

She described her ordeal to CBS Springfield, Missouri, affiliate KOLR, saying she "couldn't see anybody, I couldn't hear anything". "I was yelling, I was screaming. I can't keep drowning, I just can't keep drowning.' And then I just let go".

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"I thought I was dead", she said, recounting the moment she was sucked under. And I just remembered, I kept sinking. Those who made it to shore were shivering, in shock, drained - and Tomasetti scurried to get dry clothing and chairs so paramedics could examine them. "I felt the water temperature raise to warm", she continued.

Friend Russ McKay said he talked to Hamann the day before the accident to say they had just gone on a paddle boat and were planning to go again. The NTSB recommends not wearing life jackets on these types of boats for that reason, according to USA Today.

Critics say the boats are unsafe because they sit low in the water, are easily capsized and the canopy can trap people underneath when boats sink, according to a Philadelphia attorney who represented victims in a different duck boat incident.

The duck boats also have thick canopies to protect passengers from the elements, but if the boats sink, passengers in life jackets can float to the top and be trapped.

Emergency workers patrol Friday near the spot where the duck boat capsized the night before.

The National Transportation Safety Board and multiple duck boat companies, including Ride The Ducks of Seattle, declined to comment.

The Coast Guard will oversee salvage operations, coordinated by Ride the Ducks, of the sunken duck boat Stretch Duck 7, Monday morning.


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