Officials release names of 17 people killed on duck boat tragedy at Table Rock Lake

BRANSON, Mo. — Local law enforcement have released the names of the 17 people killed Thursday night when a duck boat tragically sank in Table Rock Lake.

Of the 17 who died, their ages range from one to 70 years old. The Stone County Sheriff’s Office said the 17 victims are:

  • William Asher, 69, St. Louis, Mo.
  • Rosemarie Hamann, 68, St. Louis, Mo.
  • Janice Bright, 63, Higginsville, Mo.
  • William Bright, 65, Higginsville, Mo.
  • Angela Coleman, 45, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Arya Coleman, 1, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Belinda Coleman, 69, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Ervin Coleman, 76, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Evan Coleman, 7, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Glenn Coleman, 40, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Horace Coleman, 70, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Maxwell Coleman, 2, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Reece Coleman, 9, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Leslie Dennison, 64, Illinois.
  • Bob Williams, 73, Branson, Mo. 
  • Lance Smith, 15, Osceola, Ark.
  • Steve Smith, 53, Osceola, Ark.

Janice and William (Bill) Bright (Photo courtesy family)

A Higginsville couple were two of the victims. William (Bill) and Janice Bright had been married for 45 years. Michelle Chaffer, the Brights’ eldest daughter, said her mom and dad were grandparents to 16 kids, 10 of whom belong to Chaffer.

Nine of the 17 victims killed Thursday night when a duck boat sank at Table Rock Lake were from the same family. The family of 11 were on the boat. Only 2, Tia Coleman and her nephew, survived.

“My heart is very heavy. Out of 11 of us, only two of us surviving — that’s me and my nephew,” Coleman said. “I lost all of my children. I lost my husband. I lost mother-in-law and my father-in-law. I lost my uncle. I lost my sister-in-law … and I lost my nephew.”

Eleven members of an Indiana family, including several children, were aboard the duck boat. Nine of them died in the incident. 

She told WXIN that the captain of the boat told them, “Don’t worry about grabbing the life jackets – you won’t need them,” so none of the family members grabbed them.

“However in doing that, when it was time to grab them, it was too late and I believe that a lot of people could have been spared,” Coleman said.

She says there’s not much that can be done.

“The only thing that I would like to be done, but can’t, is to bring my family back,” Coleman said.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jason Pace said 14 people survived, including seven who were injured.

Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said Thursday that stormy weather likely made the boat sank. Another duck boat on the lake made it safely back to shore.

Steve Lindenberg, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Springfield, Missouri, said the agency issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the Branson area Thursday evening. Lindenberg said winds reached speeds of more than 60 mph.

Rader said an off-duty sheriff’s deputy working security for the boat company helped rescue people after the boat sank. Dive teams from several law enforcement agencies assisted in the effort.

Ride the Ducks Branson will be closed while the investigation is underway. The company issued the following statement Friday:

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic accident that occurred at Ride The Ducks Branson. This incident has deeply affected all of us. Words cannot convey how profoundly our hearts are breaking. We will continue to do all we can to assist the families who were involved. The safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority. Ride the Ducks will be closed for business while we support the investigation, and to allow time to grieve for the families and the community. Thank you for your support, and we ask that your thoughts and prayers be with the families during this time.”