The mother who lost her husband, her three children and another five members of her family in Thursday’s duck boat tragedy says ‘angels’ pulled her out of the water when the vessel capsized.
Tia Coleman cried as she recounted the moment she realized she was alone on Table Rock Lake, and her children were gone.
She says 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, she 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.
‘And when they pulled me up, I didn’t see any of my family.’
Tia spoke out as a final picture of her family was revealed and investigators said the boat sailed out in hurricane force winds.
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 family beaming with a life saver ring.
Of the 11 people in the photograph, only two survived the ordeal.