Fifty-three members of an Indiana family who lost nine relatives when a duck boat sank in Missouri described their pain and unfathomable loss Tuesday while calling for a ban on the amphibious tourist boats that their attorney likened to "coffins and death traps."
Each member of the extended Coleman family, including in-laws, introduced themselves and described who they had lost during a tear-filled news conference hours after their attorneys filed a second federal lawsuit against the owners and operators of the duck boat that capsized and sank during a storm July 19.
The disaster on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri, killed 17 people, including nine of 11 Coleman family members who boarded the boat during a vacation trip. The other people killed were from Arkansas, Illinois and Missouri.
The second suit was filed on behalf of the estates of Angela Coleman, 45, and Belinda Coleman, 69. The complaint, which seeks unspecified damages, echoes arguments made in a lawsuit filed Sunday seeking $100 million on behalf of the estates of 76-year-old Ervin Coleman and 2-year-old Maxwell Ly.
Both lawsuits name Ripley Entertainment Inc., Ride the Ducks International, Ride the Ducks of Branson, the Herschend Family Entertainment Corp., and Amphibious Vehicle Manufacturing. They allege that the owners and operators of the Ride the Ducks boat put profits over people's safety when they decided to put the boat on a lake despite severe weather warnings and design problems.
Ripley spokeswoman Suzanne Smagala-Potts said Tuesday that the company remains "deeply saddened" by the accident. She said the company would not comment further because a National Transportation Safety Board investigation is ongoing and no conclusions have been reached.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.