Tia Coleman files lawsuit against Ripley Entertainment, other companies following Branson duck boat tragedy


The Coleman family (Photo courtesy of family)

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An Indiana woman whose husband and three children drowned when a duck boat sank in a Missouri lake during a July storm is asking in a federal lawsuit that the owners of the amphibious vehicles stop manufacturing or operating them in the U.S. and other countries until they are redesigned to be safe.

Tia Coleman, of Indianapolis, filed the lawsuit Tuesday against Ripley Entertainment and five other companies that manufacture and operate the Ride The Ducks tourist attraction.

Besides her husband and children, Coleman lost five relatives on the boat. Seventeen people died when the boat sank July 19 at Table Rock Lake in Branson. Coleman lost nine of 11 family members on board.

Coleman is seeking financial damages but the lawsuit does not specify the amount. Two other federal lawsuits have been filed in the case, which seek hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

Ripley Entertainment did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This statement was posted on the company’s website prior to this lawsuit:

Ride The Ducks Branson remains deeply saddened by the tragic accident that took place in July. An event like this profoundly touches everyone. The business has not operated since the incident so we can take time to focus on our guests, employees, and families who were affected by the accident.

We remain committed to supporting our guests, families, and employees who were affected. To assist families in their time of need, we continue to offer to pay for all related medical bills, funeral expenses, and grief counseling. Interested family members should contact Carolyn McLean at c​a​r​o​l​y​n​.​m​c​l​e​a​n​@​k​g​l​o​b​a​l​.​c​o​m.

We want to thank you for your messages offering comfort and compassion and have joined us in offering prayers and support. Our hearts continue to go out to all that have been affected. We offer our sincere condolences to them and to the entire community of Branson, Missouri.

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