As news broke of a duck boat capsizing and taking 17 lives – including nine members of the same family – it was one woman’s footage that got played over and over again.
All Jennie Carr could do was watch from the safety of land as she recorded the horrific moment the Ride the Ducks boat disappeared in a Branson lake.
Carr spoke out for the first time on Sunday and revealed that she believes the entire tragedy could have easily been avoided.
Jennie Carr, who recorded the horrific moment the Ride the Ducks boat disappeared in a lake in Branson, Missouri, said on Sunday that the tragedy could have easily been avoided
‘I am really sorry and sad that it happened,’ she told KMOV. ‘It should not have happened.’
‘They knew the storm was coming. I saw the storm in the sky.’
A severe weather warning had been issued in Branson at 6.30pm – about half an hour before the duck boat got into trouble.
Winds were recorded to be blowing at 73mph when the duck boat launched into the lake. Hurricane-force winds start at about 75mph.
‘It wasn’t a pop-up storm by any means,’ Carr said. ‘How are people saying it was a pop-up storm? I don’t know.’
‘It was on a radar. We had a watch. At 6.30pm we got a warning.’
Thursday was the first time Carr had ever been on a boat. She traveled two hours with her husband to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary on the tour.
Carr was on a second boat that was just 125ft ahead of the ill-fated duck boat.
‘You could clearly see the duck was having issues out in the water,’ she said. ‘It was not going well.’
Carr was on a second boat that was just 125ft ahead of the ill-fated duck boat. She said she was in disbelief when she saw it capsize
‘I could not see anybody, but you knew what was going to happen.’
‘I really wanted to do something, you know? But, what could you do? We were all told to calm down. We were even told to have a seat, but nobody had a seat.’
Carr said she was in disbelief as she saw the duck boat go down.
Carr said the storm that took down the boat wasn’t a surprise and that a warning (pictured) had been issued 30 minutes prior
‘My heart was breaking because I knew what was going to happen,’ she said.
‘My heart breaks bad for those families. I know they were scared. I know they were terrified.’
The state attorney is currently investigating whether the boat’s surviving captain will face criminal charges.
It will examine what protocols were in place for bad weather, and how much the captain knew about the storm before taking off for the tour.
National Transport Safety Board member Earl Weener told reporters they had a lot of questions for the captain, as it was discovered winds were approaching hurricane force when the boat entered the water.
Weener said witness-submitted tapes suggested the waves were between four and six feet high.
Tia Coleman said the crew told passengers they were going into the water first, before the land-based part of their tour, because of the incoming storm.
First responders are seen pulling survivors who swam to the surface out of the water
Coleman lost her husband, her three children, and another five members of her family in the tragedy.
The devastated mother said her son had been right next to her as the ship began to sink, but as the water levels crept up she said: ‘I could no longer feel anybody, I couldn’t see’.
‘I hit my head on part of the boat, and when I went into the water, it was ice cold, so I knew I was at the bottom.’
When she finally made it to the surface, fighting against the pull of the sinking ship, Coleman said she saw people on a nearby river boat ‘jumping in and saving everybody, they were throwing life rafts to every body’.
‘Somehow I managed to get to the boat, and these beautiful people, angels, I don’t know who they were, they pulled me up,’ she said.
Nine family members from the Coleman clan were killed in the duck boat ride on Thursday
Tia Coleman lost her husband and three children when their boat capsized on Table Rock lake. She and her nephew are the only two who survived
‘And when they pulled me up, I didn’t see any of my family.’
Horace ‘Butch’ Coleman, 70, his wife, Belinda Coleman, 69, and his brother, Irving Raymond Coleman, 76, were killed in the tragedy, as were Belinda’s cousins, Angela Coleman, 45, and Glenn Coleman, 40 – who is also Tia’s husband the IndyStar reported.
Angela’s two-year-old son Maxwell died in the tragic accident, as did Glenn’s sons Evan, 7, and Reece, 9, and his one-year-old daughter Arya.
The final photo of the family, taken shortly before they boarded the doomed ride shows the tight-knit clan beaming with a lifesaver ring.
Of the 11 people in the photograph, only two survived the ordeal.
Nine members of the same family (eight pictured) were killed on Thursday night after a duck boat capsized on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri (from top left: Butch Coleman, Ray Coleman, Glenn Coleman, Angela Coleman (seen holding Maxwell). From bottom left: Reece Coleman, Belinda Coleman and Evan Coleman)
Butch Coleman (left) remembered as a ‘community legend’ was killed in the tragic accident, as was one-year-old Arya (pictured right with her uncle Gary)
Fourteen people in total survived. Seven people were hospitalized with injuries.
‘Going home, I already know is going to be completely difficult,’ Coleman said as she addressed reporters from hospital.
‘I don’t know how I’m going to do it. Since I’ve had a home, it’s always been filled with little feet, laughter, and my husband.’
A GoFundMe has been set up for the Coleman family.
Earlier, Coleman told FOX59 the captain had told passengers: ‘Don’t worry about grabbing the life jackets’.
‘When it was time to grab them, it was too late,’ she said. ‘A lot of people could have been spared.’
Pictured from left: Gary, Butch and JD Coleman, with cousin Garnett Brown