There’s not a day that goes by that Tia Coleman, a survivor of the tragic duck boat accident at Table Rock Lake, Missouri, doesn’t think about the nine family members she lost in the July incident.
On Tuesday, just over a month after the accident, Coleman filed a federal lawsuit against Ripley Entertainment Inc., the parent company of the Ride the Ducks tour and the duck boat manufacturer, according to the Indianapolis Star. She is asking for $300 million in financial damages as well as the end of Duck Boat manufacturing and operation, the Indianapolis Patch reported.
“This tragedy was the predictable and predicted result of decades of unacceptable, greed-driven and willful ignorance of safety by the duck boat industry,” Coleman’s lawyer explained in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Missouri, the Indianapolis Star reported.
Tina, whose husband Glenn Coleman, 40, daughter Arya Coleman, 1, and sons Evan Coleman, 7, and Reece Coleman, 9, all died after the boat capsized, said she hopes taking legal action can help make sure “these boats can never be allowed to kill again,” according to a statement obtained by the Star.
“I know that nothing can ever bring back my family,” Coleman explained in the statement. “But I hope that through the justice system — and citizen action to ban deadly duck boats— we can spare other families the kind of unimaginable pain and heartbreak I live with every day.”
During a press conference at her home in Indianapolis, Coleman said, “I still wake up expecting to roll over and see my husband in the bed or to hearing him in the bathroom getting ready for work. I was in the bed and I woke up because I heard the bus outside and I almost yelled ‘Hurry up your going to miss the bus,’ but then I realized they won’t be getting any more busses.”
Only Coleman and her 13-year-old nephew survived the accident. His mother, Angela Coleman, 45, and brother, Maxwell Coleman, 2, were also among the nine Coleman family members who died.
Coleman’s other family members included Belinda Coleman, 69, Ervin Coleman, 76, and Horace Coleman, 70.
Sadly, the Coleman family was not supposed to be on the boat. Tia told KOLR that she and her family initially missed their boat after going to the wrong duck boat business. However, when they made it to the Ride the Ducks company, they were allowed to switch their tickets to that specific boat ride.
One day after the accident, Coleman opened up about the terrifying experience.
“I couldn’t hear screams, it felt like I was out there on my own,” Coleman said. “And I was yelling, screaming and finally, I said, ‘Lord, just let me die, let me die, I can’t keep drowning, I just can’t keep drowning.’ And then I just let go.”
“Ride The Ducks Branson remains deeply saddened by the tragic accident that took place in July. An event like this profoundly touches everyone. The business has not operated since the incident so we can take time to focus on our guests, employees, and families who are affected by this accident.”