Tragic last picture of family that lost nine on the Missouri duck boat

Moments from tragedy: Family poses for a happy souvenir snap at Ride The Ducks in Missouri, before NINE of them died drowned on the stormy lake in ‘hurricane-force’ winds

  • Photo taken moments before family of 11 board doomed boat has been released
  • Nine members of the Coleman family were killed when their duck boat capsized 
  • The family are seen beaming with a life saver ring before boarding in Branson
  • Only two people survived from the family, Tia Coleman and her nephew
  • Tia told of tragic moment she was rescued and realized she was alone on shore
  • Coleman said passengers were told of the incoming storm before they boarded 
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The mother who lost her husband, her three children and another five members of her family in Thursday’s duck boat tragedy says ‘angels’ pulled her out of the water when the vessel capsized. 

Tia Coleman cried as she recounted the moment she realized she was alone on Table Rock Lake, and her children were gone.

She says her son had been right next to her as the ship began to sink, but as the water levels crept up she said: ‘I could no longer feel anybody, I couldn’t see’.

‘I hit my head on part of the boat, and when I went into the water, it was ice cold, so I knew I was at the bottom.’

When she finally made it to the surface, fighting against the pull of the sinking ship, she said she saw people on a nearby river boat ‘jumping in and saving everybody, they were throwing life rafts to every body’. 

‘Somehow I managed to get to the boat, and these beautiful people, angels, I don’t know who they were, they pulled me up,’ she said.

‘And when they pulled me up, I didn’t see any of my family.’ 

Tia spoke out as a final picture of her family was revealed and investigators said the boat sailed out in hurricane force winds.

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Pictured: The Coleman family gather around a life saver ring before boarding their doomed duck boat ride in Branson, Missouri, on Thursday 

Tia Coleman lost nine members of her family, including her husband and children, when their boat capsized on Table Rock lake. She and her nephew are the only two who survived

Shocking video shows the boat being lashed by strong, massive waves for about five minutes before it became entirely submerged. The National Transport Safety Board has revealed winds were near hurricane strength when the boat went into the water

Horace ‘Butch’ Coleman, 70, his wife, Belinda Coleman, 69, and his brother, Irving Raymond Coleman, 76, were killed in the tragedy, as were Belinda’s cousins, Angela Coleman, 45, and Glenn Coleman, 40 – who is also Tia’s husband the IndyStar reported.

Angela’s two-year-old son Maxwell died in the tragic accident, as did Glenn’s sons Evan, 7, and Reece, 9, and his one-year-old daughter Arya. 

The final photo of the family, taken shortly before they boarded the doomed ride shows the tight-knit family beaming with a life saver ring.

Of the 11 people in the photograph, only two survived the ordeal. 

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All 17 victims were on board the Ride the Ducks amphibious vessel in Branson when a powerful storm rolled over the lake. 

National Transport Safety Board member Earl Weener told reporters they had a lot of questions for the surviving captain, as it was discovered winds were approaching hurricane force when the boat entered the water. 

Winds were recorded to be blowing at 73mph when the duck boat launched into the lake. Hurricane-force winds start about 75mph.

Weener said witness-submitted tapes suggested the waves were between four and six feet high.  

A severe weather warning had been issued at 6.30pm – about half an hour before the duck boat got into trouble.

Nine members of the same family (eight pictured) were killed on Thursday night after a duck boat capsized on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri (from top left: Butch Coleman, Ray Coleman, Glenn Coleman, Angela Coleman (seen holding Maxwell). From bottom left: Reece Coleman, Belinda Coleman and Evan Coleman)

Butch Coleman (left) remembered as a ‘community legend’ was killed in the tragic accident, as was one-year-old Arya (pictured right with her uncle Gary)

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. 

The area had been under a severe thunderstorm watch for hours and a severe thunderstorm warning for more than 30 minutes before the boat sank. 

Fourteen people survived, including the boat’s captain. Seven people were hospitalized with injuries. 

‘Going home, I already know is going to be completely difficult,’ Tia said as she addressed reporters from hospital.

‘I don’t know how I’m going to do it. Since I’ve had a home, it’s always been filled with little feet, laughter, and my husband.’ 

A GoFundMe has been set up for the Coleman family.  

Earlier, Tia told FOX59 the captain had told passengers: ‘don’t worry about grabbing the life jackets’.

Pictured: First responders are seen pulling survivors who swam to the surface out of the water. Tia was saved in this manner and says she remembers ‘angels’ helping her out of the water, but revealed her devastation when she realised she was the only one there

‘When it was time to grab them, it was too late,’ she said. ‘A lot of people could have been spared.’

Tragically, the Coleman’s weren’t even supposed to be on the doomed duck boat.

A woman who met the family before they boarded revealed they had only been on the boat because they’d gone to the wrong pick-up area.

Tracy Beck, of Kansas City, says she and her family were waiting in line for another boat when the Coleman’s stopped talking to have a group picture taken by the tour company.

Beck says the ticket taker realized the family should have boarded at a different location in Branson.

The Coleman’s had to get new tickets and was put on the boat that eventually sank. Beck said she recognized the family when pictures began circulating Friday. 

Of the 31 people who boarded the duck boat on Thursday, 17 were killed, the youngest victim being Tia’s one-year-old daughter.  

As it was overpowered with waves on Thursday night, passengers on other boats nearby watched helplessly. 

They filmed harrowing footage of the scene which cut out just before the boat capsized. 

Pictured from left: Gary, Butch and JD Coleman, with cousin Garnett Brown


Seventeen people were killed on Thursday night when a Ride the Ducks duck boat capsized during a severe storm over the Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri.

Among them were a hero grandmother, a ‘community legend’ football coach and a recently baptized 15-year-old boy. 

Nine members of one family were also killed, with another two managing to survive the horrific ordeal. 


Nine of the 11 members of the Coleman family who boarded the boat on Thursday were killed, including four children under the age of 10.

Horace ‘Butch’ Coleman, 70, the family patriarch, was remembered on social media as a ‘community legend’, who spent more than 40 years volunteering in his local area.

His wife, Belinda Coleman, 69, and his brother, Irving Raymond Coleman, 76, were also killed, as were Belinda’s cousins, Angela Coleman, 45, and Glenn Coleman, 40.

Angela’s two-year-old son Maxwell died in the tragic accident, as did Glenn’s sons Evan, 7, and Reece, 9, and his one-year-old daughter Arya.

From top left: Butch Coleman, Ray Coleman, Glenn Coleman, Angela Coleman (seen holding Maxwell). From bottom left: Reece Coleman, Belinda Coleman and Evan Coleman 


Christian church deacon Steve Smith, 53, and his 15-year-old son Lance also drowned when the boat capsized on Thursday.

Smith’s daughter, Loren, survived, and his wife Pamela was not on the boat.

A family friend wrote on Twitter Pamela had decided to go shopping instead of joining her family on board the doomed boat.

Church deacon Steve Smith (left) and his recently baptized 15-year-old son Lance (pictured in last known photo of him, right) were among those killed. Steve’s daughter Loren was taken to hospital, but survived

Bill Asher (right) and Rose Hamman (left), were also killed. The couple were on their last night of vacation when they boarded the boat


Bill Asher, 69, and his girlfriend Rose Hamman, 68, were also identified as among the dead by friends on Facebook on Friday afternoon.

Bill and Rose had been on a week-long holiday in Branson, and had spent their last evening away on the duck boat, friend Mary Ogborn Kientzy said. 


Grandmother Leslie Dennison, 64, was on the boat with her 12-year-old granddaughter Alicia. 

Her son Todd said on Thursday his daughter, who is recovering in hospital, said she could feel Leslie pushing her up as the boat filled with water.

‘She said her grandmother saved her,’ he told the paper. Leslie is being mourned as a ‘true hero’.

Leslie Dennison (second from left) died saving her 12-year-old granddaughter Alicia. She is being mourned as a hero 


Robert ‘Bob’ Williams, 73, was driving the boat when it went down in Table Rock Lake.

Williams worked for Ride the Ducks, the boat tour company which owned the vessel, but had previously worked as a pastor. 

Friends and family paid tribute to him on Friday as a God-fearing family man.

Pictured: Robert ‘Bob’ Williams, who was driving the boat when it went down


William and Janice Bright, aged 65 and 63, had been in Branson celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary on Thursday.

The couple have three daughters and 16 grandchildren – their 17th was on the way. 

William and Janice Bright, 65 and 64, were among the 17 people killed in the duck boat tragedy. The couple were on holiday celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary when they lost their lives on Thursday


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