Branson Disaster Survivor Tia Coleman, Despite a Broken Heart and Empty House, Is Determined to Help Ban Death Trap Duck Boats

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Her husband and three children, ages 1, 7, and 9 were among the 17 fatalities

INDIANAPOLIS (August 14, 2018) – Tia Coleman, who survived the July 19th Branson, Missouri duck boat disaster in which her husband Glenn, 40, and all three of her children – Arya, 1, Evan, 7, and Reece, 9 – drowned, is on a mission to help permanently ban the deadly amphibious vehicles that have claimed more than 40 lives since 1999.

“My heart is broken, and my house that was once overflowing with joy and laughter is now haunted by silence,” said Mrs. Coleman in her first interviews since returning to Indianapolis after her family was killed in the worst duck boast disaster in history. ” I want Indiana, Missouri, and the whole world to know that in memory of my family, and all those who died on July 19th and over the years in death trap duck boats, I am determined to do all I can to make sure there are no more funerals of duck boat drowning victims. Enough is enough. No longer can we allow any duck boat operator to knowingly place a higher value on a boat ride ticket than human life.”

Tia Coleman, surrounded by her sisters, other family and friends, sat near Arya’s portable crib. She could not bring herself to remove any of the baby’s toys, let alone put the crib out of sight, or disturb the rooms of Evan and Reece. “Please try to understand the unimaginable – what it is like to one day be surrounded by a loving husband and children and then have them killed right in front of you,” she stated.

“Evan’s school bus pulled up out front a few weeks ago – our schools start early here – and my first instinct was to call out, ‘Hurry up or you’ll miss the bus’, but there was nobody here. Nobody,” she recalled.

Gradually healing from her own physical trauma, Mrs. Coleman says she feels strong enough, with the assistance of family and friends, to try to transform her horrific tragedy into citizen action, starting with an online petition – on (see Petition text below) – directed at Congress to ban duck boats. Signers also voice their support for Senate bill 3301 that would force the non-compliant duck boat industry to use only boats that meet strict federal safety standards. Those suggested safety standards have been inexplicably ignored.

“I was horrified to learn that in 2002 the National Transportation Safety Board told the duck boat industry to make their boats float even if filled with water, and to remove their canopies which trap its passengers, and they didn’t do it.” She added, ” Enough is enough. No family should have to endure the loss we have suffered. Ban the duck boats now.”

Washington: Ban Death Trap Duck Boats Now

The duck boat took my family from me.

On July 19th, my husband, Glenn, 40, and our babies – Arya, 1, Evan, 7, and Reece, 9, drowned in a totally preventable disaster on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri. Seventeen souls, including my other Coleman family members – Horace “Butch” Coleman, 70, Belinda “Toni” Coleman, 69, Ervin “Uncle Ray” Coleman, 76, Angiee Coleman, 45 and her baby, Maxwell 2. They all died because of the duck boat’s deadly design, which the industry knew about for more than 16 years. In 2002, the National Transportation Safety Board told the duck boat operators to make them safe. They didn’t.

I miraculously survived, along with my 13-year-old nephew, Donovan. So many loved ones died that tragic day, but not my spirit. In their memory, I am asking you to join me to help ensure that no one else is killed by death trap duck boats. Help us ban all unsafe amphibious vehicles like the one that killed my family and dozens more over the past 20 years. In addition to signing this Petition, it’s also important to support Senate Bill 3301 that will force the reckless and deceitful duck boat industry to comply with safety recommendations that it has ignored for decades.

Ban the duck boats NOW!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Tia Coleman


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