‘Ride The Ducks’ Accident Victims Not Wearing Life Jackets Due To Captain’s Advice, Says Survivor

Charlie RiedelAP Images

In a shocking revelation, a survivor from the “Ride the Ducks” boat accident told Fox59 that the captain told passengers not to worry about wearing life jackets. The survivor is from the Coleman family, which is the family that lost nine of their loved ones in the accident. Tia Coleman and her nephew were the only two that survived the accident.

When asked about the accident, Tia said that “My heart is very heavy. Out of 11 of us, only two of us surviving – that’s me and my nephew… I lost all my children, my brother-in-law.” She also added that the captain said, “don’t worry about grabbing the life jackets – you won’t need them.”

For Tia, the oversight by the captain to ensure everyone had proper safety gear on was a contributing factor to the large number of deaths. She said that “However in doing that, when it was time to grab them, it was too late and I believe that a lot of people could have been spared.”

The tragedy rocked the nation, as 17 people were confirmed dead after the boat capsized during a thunderstorm. There were 14 survivors.

Tia also spoke with CNN affiliate KOLR about how she nearly drowned.

“I was yelling, I was screaming, and finally I said, ‘Lord, just let me die, let me die,’ I said. ‘I can’t keep drowning, I just can’t keep drowning… And then I just let go and I started floating. And I was floating up to the top. I felt the water temperature raise to warm… And then I felt the temperature raise, I jumped up and I saw the big boat that sits out there”

Around 6:32 p.m., on the day of the accident, there was a severe thunderstorm warning for Branson.

By the time the first 911 call was placed around 7:09 p.m., the thunderstorm had hit with winds as high as 50 to 60 mph.

An official investigation is underway, and it will be conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board and Coast Guard. There is no official word yet about whether life jackets were properly used aboard the ship.

Of those killed, the captain was included, Robert “Bob” Williams. However, one crew member did make it out alive.

The company that operated the boat, Ripley Entertainment, appears to have recently acquired the company. Prior to the acquisition, there had been no accidents for 47 years. The captain had a commercial boat license.