Mourners gather to pray in parking lot of ‘Ride The Ducks’ in Branson
A family of 11 was aboard the duck boat that sank Thursday evening and only two members survived, the Missouri governor’s office has confirmed.
Gov. Mike Parson met with the two surviving relatives, a 13-year-old boy and his aunt, said spokesman Steele Shippy. He spent time with them at Cox Medical Center in Branson where they were being treated for injuries that were not life-threatening.
The family was visiting southwest Missouri as tourists, the governor’s office said.
“It just doesn’t seem quite right,” said Kelli Jones, a spokeswoman for the governor. “This is a devastating day for Missouri.”
According to WRTV, an ABC-affiliate television station in Indianapolis, the family is from the Indiana city. The names of the relatives have not been released.
The Indianapolis station also reported that among the nine killed, five were adults and four children under the age of 10.
Relatives of the family told the station that the family was part of the Zion Tabernacle Apostolic Faith Church.
One of the family members who died, Horace “Butch” Coleman, was a part of a youth football organization for over 40 years, the league’s Facebook page stated in an announcement late Friday afternoon.
“With a heavy heart this feels like a nightmare...RIP to a community legend but most importantly a man to his family,” the group said.
Marlon Anderson Jr., 17, posted to his Facebook page that “Coach Butch had an impact on kids in our community by bringing them together to play the game of football, but not only did he coach football he coached us in life as well.”
Anderson called Coleman a “father figure.”
Paralegal Tia Coleman, who survived the trip along with her nephew, is a supervisor at the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.
Indianapolis TV station FOX59 spoke with Coleman.
“My heart is very heavy. Out of 11 of us, only two of us surviving – that’s me and my nephew,” the station quoted her as saying. “I lost all my children, my brother-in-law.”
Coleman’s coworker Tammy Kluska said on Facebook that her “heart breaks for her right now.”
The nine family members were among the 17 killed when the “Ride the Ducks” boat sank in Table Rock Lake before 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
There reportedly were 31 people on the boat, a vehicle that goes from land to water and is a popular attraction for tourists at Table Rock Lake. Some people were able to swim to shore, according to media reports.
People young and old from the New Beginnings Fellowship in the neighboring city of Hollister gathered in a large prayer circle in the parking lot of the “Ride the Duck” landing spot, where some victims had left their vehicles, never to return to them.
A shuttle van in the parking lot belonged to the Indiana family, according to Lacey Oliver, a 17-year-old who led the group in prayer and spoke to surviving relatives.
On Friday afternoon, as about 50 people joined hands and prayed together, a flower collection overflowed on the hood of those abandoned vehicles belonging to the men, women and children who drowned in Table Rock Lake.
Several people prayed in the 10-minute faith huddle, with one man asking God to “move his hand miraculously into the hearts of everybody involved.”
Shortly afterward, Lacey moved to the shuttle van, placing her hand on the hood near scores of flowers and closing her eyes in prayer.