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Duckboat Survivor Tia Coleman Gives Emotional Interview After Death Of 9 Family Members

(@Fox59 video/Twitter)

Tia Coleman lost nine family members during Thursday's horrific Duckboat tragedy in Missouri which claimed the lives of 17 people.

Coleman, the 34-year-old survivor who had been visiting with her family from the Indianapolis area when tragedy struck, recently opened up at a press conference on Saturday.






The land-to-water hybrid boat capsized on Table Rock Lake near Branson when it encountered a sudden storm. Prior to leaving the dock, the passengers had been assured that life jackets would not be necessary while on board. "I'll show you where they are, but you won't need them," Coleman recalled the instructor telling her.

She added, "And we were never told after that to grab them."



When the boat capsized, it was already too late to search for the life jackets.



"I gotta get to my babies, I gotta get to my babies," she prayed when she found herself in the dark, icy waters and swimming against the current.

Eventually, she was rescued, but the nightmare later set in when she realized she lost her husband, three of her children, a nephew, and her brother-in-law.




People praised the grieving mother for her strength in her ability to appear in front of the press.







Coleman believes she could've saved her children if they had on life jackets.

They could have at least floated up to the top and someone could have grabbed them. And I wasn't able to do that.

The most heart-wrenching part of the press conference was when Coleman was asked to reflect on the family members who did not survive. "I'll remember, always, how they always loved being around family," she began.







In our family, like I said, my son is autistic, my oldest son was autistic, so a lot of things that quote unquote 'normal families' or people that say they're normal families do we don't always do.
And that's another thing I loved about my family: they would make the situation fit for him. He likes to ride, so, he could ride; so that was one thing we knew. He loves water, and he likes to ride so we were like, 'That'd work out for everybody.' We could go drive around on the boat, we could get in the water and it wold be a good time.





I would tell my husband, that, what I always tell him: we in this thing for life, better or worse. And I would let him know, again, just how great of a father he is.






Coleman's devastation was felt by everyone watching the press conference, and Twitter offered their heartfelt sympathies.











A GoFundMe campaign was started for Coleman and her family.

The following links have been verified by GoFundMe's spokesperson, Katherine Cichy.

https://www.gofundme.com/branson-duck-boat-survivor

https://www.gofundme.com/coleman-family-boat-accident

"Our team is closely monitoring all campaigns related to this tragedy," Cichy told the Indy Star. "We often see this when tragedies happen. People want to help and people create campaigns on behalf of other people. The funds are only released to the intended beneficiary."




H/T - IndyStar, Twitter, YouTube, SpringfieldNews