An Indiana family gutted by the loss of nine family members who died when their duck boat sank during a Branson, Missouri tour have filed a lawsuit seeking $100 million from the boat’s operators and other parties.
More than 50 members of the extended Coleman family filed the lawsuit Monday, July 30, in a federal court in Missouri. The plaintiffs name Ripley Entertainment Inc., Ride the Ducks International, Ride the Ducks of Branson, the Herschend Family Entertainment Corp., and Amphibious Vehicle Manufacturing, alleging the companies prioritize profits over the safety of their customers.
A second lawsuit was filed July 31 on behalf of the estates of Angela Coleman, 45, and Belinda Coleman, 69, seeking unspecified damages but echoing the same duck boat safety concerns as the first lawsuit.
Lisa Berry, Belinda Coleman’s sister, said, “The duck boat industry doesn’t seem to consider that lives are at stake, and it’s more than a ticket,” she said. “It’s people’s children, their moms, their dads, their grandparents and we just want them to be held accountable.”
In addition to seeking damages, the Coleman family and their lawyer say the duck boat industry should be shut down because the vessels are too unsafe.
According to the Associated Press, Belinda Coleman said her family is united in the belief that duck boats are dangerous and that they should be banned so that no other families have to experience the grief that she and her relatives are going through.
“They are coffins and death traps and rather than doing anything about it they continued to just sell more tickets,” the family’s lawyer said, according to the AP. “And this family has paid for that ticket with precious life and blood, and enough is enough,” he said, adding that the aim of the lawsuit is to drive duck boats out of business.
Members of the Coleman family who died on the duck boat were Horace Coleman, 70; his wife, Belinda, 69; his brother Irvin, 76; his son Glenn; his daughter, Angela; Glenn’s children Reece, 9, Evan, 7, and Arya, 1, and Angela’s son, Maxwell, 2. Just two of the Colemans who were on the duck boat tour survived: Tia Coleman, who lost her three children, and her nephew Donovan, 13.
Other lawsuits besides those brought by the Colemans are being filed in connection with the Branson duck boat accident. According to USA Today, the daughters of a Missouri couple who died filed a complaint in Missouri state court July 30.
Additionally, the mother of a child injured when the duck boat sank filed a lawsuit seeking damages in Orlando, Florida.