“Duck boats are death traps,” Coleman family attorney responds to NTSB findings


SPRINGFIELD, Mo- The attorney for Tia Coleman and the rest of the Coleman family spoke out Tuesday afternoon after the NTSB held a meeting to discuss the probable cause of the July 2018 duck boat sinking that killed 17 people.

The National Transportation Safety Board determined the cause of the fatal Duck Boat accident

Nine of those 17 who died were members of the Coleman family. The Coleman family was visiting Branson from Indiana for an annual family vacation when the tragedy happened.

Robert Mongeluzzi, the Coleman family attorney, says the real tragedy is that the NTSB made the same recommendations in 2002.

“After the Arkansas sinking that drowned 13 and neither the duck boat industry nor the Coast Guard acted upon that recommendation from the NTSB,” says Mongeluzzi.

He says that Tia Coleman is grateful the NTSB has investigated this incident and has made strong recommendations that would prevent this from happening again.

Those recommendations include:

  • Sufficient reserve buoyancy so that the boat doesn’t sink
  • Removal of canopies

The NTSB can only make recommendations; they do not have the power to make it happen.

“One of Tia’s goals was to make something positive out of this tragedy to make sure no family goes through what they went through. She perceives this as a step forward but certainly not a final step because that won’t happen until duck boats are made safer. Or banned,” says Mongeluzzi.

The number one takeaway Mongeluzzi had after the NTSB meeting was that the NTSB pointed a firm finger at the Coast Guard. A fellow federal agency, saying the Coast Guard was ineffective and didn’t do its job.

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