On Thursday, 17 duck boat passengers lost their lives during a severe thunderstorm on Table Rock Lake in the Ozark Mountains. Many of the victims were children, some just one-year-old. One survivor, Tia Coleman, lost nine members of her family.

Her sister-in-law’s 13-year-old son was her only relative to survive.

“She was there with her 13-year-old, soon to be 3-year-old, I was there, with my husband and our three children who were 9, 7, and 1. My in-laws were there, my mother in law and my father in law and then uncle that lives with them,” Coleman told ABC.

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Coleman said the crowd became apprehensive when they went onto the lake, “everybody start getting like ‘Hey? This is a little bit too much,’ and then it got really choppy and big swells of water started coming into the boat.”

The boat was then engulfed by water.

“The last thing I heard my sister in law yell was ‘grab the baby!'”

She continued, “I said Jesus just keep me, just keep me so I can get to my children, keep me lord and I can swim and I swimming as fast as I could and I could not reach the life jackets, I swam over to the boat and I was holding on but my legs and arms were so heavy from trying, they were so heavy?”


Though there were lifejackets on board, Coleman said they weren’t of any us to the victims.

“They showed us where they were, but they told us, ‘don’t worry about it, you won’t need it,'” she said. “When that boat is found, all those life jackets are going to be in there. You weren’t supposed to grab them unless you were in distress, which we were. Definitely, life-changing, life-altering event.”

On Friday night into Saturday morning, a vigil was held for the lives lost in this tragic event. Flowers were thrown into the lake where the tourist duck boat capsized.

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