34 People Killed after Boat Catches Fire and Sinks Near Santa Cruz Island
In shocking new details about a tragic duck boat accident in Missouri that killed nine members of the same family, one of the survivors who lost her husband and children has said the captain of the boat told passengers not to put on life jackets. According to a Reuters news report, Tia Coleman said she and her nephew were the only survivors from 11 members of their family who were on the amphibious vehicle when it capsized and sank in a storm killing 17 out of its 31 passengers.
Lives Could’ve Been Spared
Coleman told Fox 59 that she lost all her children, her husband, in-laws, uncle and nephew in this horrific mishap. She said her deceased husband would “want the world to know” that when they were in the water riding the boat, the captain told them not to put on life jackets. Coleman believes lives could have been saved had everyone been wearing their life jackets.
She says he told them they wouldn’t need the life jackets. They listened to the captain who told them to stay seated. But when the boat got in trouble, it was too late to grab the life jackets, Coleman said. The captain of the boat, however, was among 14 survivors. Seven of the survivors were injured, one severely.
The boat crew was reportedly told to do the water section of the 70-minute land/water tour to avoid the storm, which they knew was coming. Coleman said the water appeared calm when they set out, but soon turned choppy. A video shot by a bystander shows the duck boat slowly being swamped by waves as it tried to make it ashore before it capsized and sank.
Justice for Victims and Families
We are horrified for the victims of this terrible incident, especially, Tia Coleman, who has lost her entire family. Her account of the incident is extremely disturbing and raises a number of questions. Why did the crew decide to take the passengers even though the storm was coming? Why did the boat captain specifically tell his passengers not to don life jackets? Was that normal practice for the duck boat operator involved in this incident? Did they violate regulations by instructing passengers not to wear life jackets?
These are all crucial questions that must be answered during the course of the investigation into this incident. If there was negligence here, the duck boat operator can be held accountable for the injuries, damages and losses. As personal injury lawyers who represent victims of negligence and wrongdoing, we hope the victims’ families and survivors find answers to these disturbing questions and are eventually able to get justice by holding the at-fault parties accountable.