US duck boat survivor loses husband, kids

Two survivors have been discharged from a US hospital after 17 people including nine members of one family drowned when a “duck boat” sank during a storm on a lake in Missouri.

It was one of the deadliest US tourist tragedies for years, local media report.

Two adults and two children remained hospitalised in Branson, Missouri after an adult and a child were released late on Friday, NBC affiliate KY3 News reported, citing a hospital official. The four were listed in stable and fair condition.

Federal safety officials and the US Coast Guard are investigating the incident, which began around 7pm local time on Thursday when a sudden “microburst” storm swept over Table Rock Lake near Branson, throwing up large white-capped waves.

Two of the World War Two-style amphibious duck boat vehicles were out on the lake and headed back to shore, but only one made it.

The other, which was carrying 31 passengers, was swamped by the waves. The dead were aged one to 70 and came from four US states. Seven of the 14 survivors were injured and taken to the hospital, authorities said.

Tia Coleman and her nephew were the only survivors from 11 members of their family who were on the boat.

“I lost all my children, I lost my husband,” Coleman told Indianapolis television channel Fox 59 from her hospital bed in Branson. “I’m OK, but this is really hard, just really hard.”

Coleman said the boat’s captain, who was among the survivors, told the passengers that they would not need to put on life jackets, an action she believed cost lives.

More than three dozen people have died in incidents involving duck boats on land and water in the US over the past two decades.


* An Indiana family

Angela Coleman, 45, Arya Coleman, 1, Belinda Coleman, 69, Ervin Coleman, 76, Evan Coleman, 7, Glenn Coleman, 40, Horace Coleman, 70, Maxwell Coleman, 2, and Reece Coleman, 9.

* From Missouri

William Asher, 69, Rosemarie Hamann, 68 Janice Bright, 63, William Bright, 65, and the crew member operating the boat, Bob Williams, 73.

* From Illinois

64-year-old Leslie Dennison

* From Arkansas

Steve Smith, 53, and his son Lance, 15.

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