A total of 17 people were killed in the accident. Out of the 17, Coleman lost her husband, three children and five other family members. Coleman and her nephew survived the horrific accident.
Coleman said the boat’s captain played down the need to wear life jackets–a device she believes may have saved lives.
“I felt like, if I was able to get a life jacket I could have saved my babies because they could have at least floated up to the top and somebody could have grabbed them. And I wasn’t able to do that,” she said in an emotional interview from the Branson Cox Medical Center where she was hospitalized.
An inspector who sat down with CNN on Monday said he warned the Branson Duck Boat company about an important mechanical issue 11 months ago.
“One of the most prominent things I found was the exhaust being in front of the vessel, which — according to Department of Transportation standards — would not pass regulation,” Steven Paul said.
Branson Duck Boat Company promised to pay the victim’s hospital and funeral fees, along with travel accommodations for family members–a small offering which won’t replace the lives lost.