Survivor Recounts Boat Accident That Killed 9 Family Members

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The victim's adult son, Todd Dennison, said his 12-year-old daughter, Alicia, showed him in the hospital how - as the boat submerged - grandma pushed her upward to safety. When the Indianapolis woman came up for air, she was alone. "I am so honored and blessed", she said.

In retrospect, what's also heartbreaking is that while taking the photo, the Colemans realized they had purchased tickets for another boat - one that could have saved their lives, a witness to the incident recalled. "And when they pulled me up onto the boat I didn't see any of my family", she said. In total, 17 people were killed when the boat capsized and sank on Table Rock Lake Thursday evening.

Others killed included a Missouri couple who had just celebrated a birthday; another Missouri couple on what was planned as their last extended vacation; an IL woman who died while saving her granddaughter's life; an Arkansas father and son; and a retired pastor who was the boat's operator.

The attorney general said investigators from the Missouri State Highway Patrol will also look at the boat's canopy and how hard it was for the passengers and crew to get off during the chaotic event. An initial assessment blamed thunderstorms and winds that approached hurricane strength, but it wasn't clear why the amphibious vehicle even ventured out into the water.

Tia Coleman, a passenger on the boat who was sitting near the front, told reporters Saturday that passengers were told a storm was coming before going out on the water.

Counties to the northwest of the Branson area were issued thunderstorm warnings at 5:45 p.m. - more than an hour before the boat sank.

Steve Paul, the owner of St. Louis-based Test Drive technologies said he issued a written report to Ripley Entertainment last August - explaining how their "Ride the Duck" boats' engines - and pumps that remove water from their hulls - might fail.

The company has not commented on Ms Coleman's account of the tour, which usually begins with a tour of downtown Branson, known for its country shows and entertainment, before the vessel enters the lake for a short ride on the water.

Th company's president, Jim Pattison Jr., said the boat captain had 16 years of experience, and that the business monitors the weather.

Twenty-nine passengers and two crew members were aboard.

"Out of 11 of us, only two of us surviving - that's me and my nephew".


The U.S. Coast Guard said the boat that sank was built in 1944 and has passed an inspection in February, the Kansas City Star reported. William Asher, 69; Rosemarie Hamann, 68; Janice Bright, 63; and William Bright, 65, were from Missouri.

William Bright's final public Facebook posting noted the wedding anniversary and how happy he was with his wife, three kids and 16 grandchildren.

A witness's video of the duck boat just before it capsized suggests that its flexible plastic windows might have been closed and could have trapped passengers as the hybrid boat-truck went down. "If you didn't remember a nursery rhyme, he remembered them all and we sang", said Collins.

Named for their ability to travel on land and in water, duck boats have been involved in other serious accidents in the past, including the deaths of more than 40 people since 1999.

So far, over $300,000 has been raised for the family through a GoFundMe fundraiser.

Chance also brought the Colemans aboard the doomed vessel.

A survivor from the family who lost nine relatives said the captain told passengers not to bother grabbing life jackets.

The company's website had been taken down by Saturday, save for a statement that its operations would remain shuttered to support the investigation and allow time for families and the community to grieve.

The driver, Branson resident Robert "Bob" Williams, 73, is among the dead.

Earlier, Mayor Karen Best said Branson is typically a city "full of smiles ..."

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