‘Grab the baby’: last words of tragic boat family


Duck boat accident survivor Tia Coleman. Photo: AP
Duck boat accident survivor Tia Coleman. Photo: AP

A mother who lost nine relatives in a tourist boat accident in the US has recalled her sister-in-law’s last words.

Tia Coleman said she heard her brother’s wife shout “grab the baby” after the tourist boat they were on sank into a lake in Missouri, killing 17 people in total.

A huge wave hit, scattering passengers on the vessel known as a duck boat into Table Rock Lake near Branson, she said.

She was alone when she came up for air. “I said, ‘Lord, please, let me get to my babies’,” she told reporters from her wheelchair in hospital.

Ms Coleman managed to reach the rescue boat, but her husband and three children, aged nine, seven and one; her sister-in-law and two-year-old nephew; her mother-in-law and father-in-law; and her husband’s uncle all died on Thursday in the deadliest accident of its kind in nearly two decades.

None of the 31 passengers on board was wearing a life jacket, according to an incident report.

An initial assessment blamed thunderstorms, but it was not clear why the amphibious vehicle even ventured into the water. Ms Coleman said the crew told passengers they were going into the water first, before the land-based part of their tour, because of the incoming storm.

Irish Independent

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