More than half of the 17 people killed when a tourist boat sank on a Branson lake were members of the same in family, and they likely wouldn't have been on the ill-fated trip but for a ticket mix-up.
"From what I understand there was life jackets in the duck", Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader told the press conference. An EF2 tornado that bounced through downtown Branson in 2012 destroyed dozens of buildings and injured about three dozen people, but killed no one.
Pace says those who died ranged in age from 1 to 70-years old.
Another family member described the Coleman clan as "close-knit" and "loving".
Seven people were hospitalized after the boat capsized and two are in critical condition. One child and one adult have been released.
"So all of the staff, all of the waiters, waitresses that may be on our showboat actually grabbed life jackets, AEDs, were running up and down the aisles helping as much as they could", he said, referring to automated external defibrillators. One crew member survived and one did not.
Life jackets were available inside the boat, but authorities can't say whether passengers were wearing them.
"I lost all my children, I lost my husband, I lost my mother in law, I lost my father in law, I lost my uncle, I lost my sister in law - she was my sister - and I lost my nephew, I'm OK, but this is really hard", Coleman told Fox 59 from her hospital bed in Branson. An investigation is now underway.
The driver died, but the captain survived.
The National Transportation Safety Board and US Coast Guard were investigating, officials said. "We'll be working arduously to determine what happened, why it happened and how to prevent it from happening again", NTSB member Earl Weener said Friday.
Coleman told CNN affiliate KOLR of her own near-death by drowning: "I was yelling, I was screaming, and finally I said, 'Lord, just let me die, let me die.' She eventually floated to the surface".
"Our hearts are broken in hearing of the Branson, Missouri Duckboat tragedy", her parents, Martha and Ivan Warmuth, said in a statement Friday.
"The only thing that I would like to be done but can't, is to bring my family back", Coleman said. Weather reports had high wind hitting the area about 7 p.m. Video of the boat's final moments show it struggling to stay afloat.
The boat sank in a severe storm on Thursday evening, according to the office.
Officials blamed the accident on stormy weather.
The trial attorney involved in that case said there's no reason why regulators haven't addressed a lethal design problem with these boats.
Wendy Doucey, an office manager at the Stone County sheriff's office, said that divers had recovered the four bodies from the sunken duck boat.
The boat, he told United States media, "shouldn't have been in the water" due to the weather. They ran for cover to a nearby shop, where the overheard someone say one of the duck boats had capsized.
US President Donald Trump offered his "deepest sympathies" in a Friday morning tweet. The safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority.
Commenting on the rescue operation, he said: "Emergency responders and civilian rescuers helped avert an even worse tragedy as people rushed to help in extremely risky conditions". "We pray for all those who were affected by this bad tragedy".