Should Duck Boats be Banned?

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Should Duck Boats be banned?

If you’re talking original issue WW2 craft?

Absolutely not.

They should be given to landlocked American Legion Posts–and used as planters.

They worked hard for their country.

Give them a decent retirement.

The safety of the newer ones? There have been enough tragedies, on land and at sea, that I’m not sure they can be regulated enough.

The Coast Guard has cracked down hard on them, post Branson. Not hard enough, say the family members.

Here’s the story from their attorneys.



INDIANAPOLIS, IN  (July 16, 2019) – Tia Coleman, whose husband, Glenn, and their three children, Arya, 1, Evan, 7, and Reece, 9, drowned in the Branson, Missouri duck boat disaster last July 19th, says “the crippling pain of loss continues every day.” Mrs. Coleman, whose family drowned along with 12 other passengers –nine of them relatives – and one crewmember of the duck boat, today issued a statement through her attorneys, Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, P.C., (SMBB) in response to media requests to describe life since the disaster. 

“This is a time for reflection and remembrance of my precious, loving family and all the victims of a devastating,  preventable catastrophe,” Mrs. Coleman said. I draw hope and energy from their memory to fight to ban dangerous, death trap  duck boats like the one that killed my family and the others. I am grateful for the efforts of prosecutors as they work to hold all those responsible for this crime accountable . And I am thankful to our Congressman Andre Carson for joining us in calling on Congress to stop duck-boat deaths in the water and on land,” she added. 

Mrs. Coleman said, “I just learned from a media report that  members of the Coast Guard met with the duck boat industry, their insurers and representatives of the Passenger Vessel Association, the trade group that has continually lobbied to keep dangerous death trap duck boats on our streets and in our lakes and rivers. However, the Coast Guard has not met with me and the other victims of this disaster to hear what we have to say and understand what we have lost. I am urging the Coast Guard  to meet with me and other victims so we can discuss why we want these duck boats banned, so no other family will suffer the losses that we have.”

Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Mrs. Coleman’s attorney, said, “Tia Coleman, is an incredibly courageous individual and  has become the leader to ban death trap duck boats so that no other family has to endure  the grievous loss that she has suffered at the hands of the duck-boat industry. The most recent federal criminal indictment issued by the grand jury notes that on the day of the disaster Ripley’s operations manager was counting cash and receipts rather than monitoring the weather and safeguarding their passengers. This is just one of the outrageous acts detailed in the indictment. Ripley’s latest onslaught of public relations propaganda has only magnified, not lessened, Tia Coleman’s devastating loss. 


SMBB partner Andrew Duffy stated, “In the past year, criminal charges have been brought against three Ripley’s employees for their  inexcusable decisions to place profits over safety.  It is now time for Ripley’s to admit fault and apologize to Tia Coleman and the others who lost loved ones.”


SMBB partner Jeffrey P. Goodman added, “As the one-year anniversary of this tragedy approaches, let’s remember those that died and redouble our efforts to ban these death traps that have killed 43 people in the last 20 years. We continue our fight in their  name.” SMBB attorney E. Douglas DiSandro, Jr., is also part of the legal team.

Mrs. Coleman created  the online petition ((Ban The Duck Boats) urging Congress and the United States Coast Guard to ban hazardous duck boats . Nearly 8,,000 supporters have signed that petition. Her complaint (Tia Coleman, Glenn Coleman, Reece Coleman, Evan, Coleman, Arya Coleman v. Ripley Entertainment, Inc. D/B/A Ride the Ducks International, et al., In The United States District Court, Western District of Missouri, 6:18-cv-03280) was filed by  Philadelphia-based SMBB and Aleshire, Robb, P.C., of Springfield, Missouri.

It detailed Mrs. Coleman’s harrowing experience as her husband and children, along with relatives Horace “Butch” Coleman, 70, Belinda “Toni” Coleman, 69, Ervin “Uncle Ray” Coleman, 76, Angela ‘Angiee’ Coleman, 45 and her son, Maxwell 2 , died in what was supposed to have been a fun-filled family ride. Only Tia Coleman and Donovan Coleman (Tia’s 13-year-old nephew, Angela’s eldest son) survived among the Coleman Family members that boarded the duck boat in the early evening. They had gathered in the city of Branson, a popular tourist-entertainment destination, on their annual multi-generational reunion vacation.  


Notice to Media : Kindly respect the privacy of Tia Coleman and her relatives. Her only public statements are those presented in this news release. Attorneys Mongeluzzi, Duffy and Goodman will be available for interviews. Thank you.


Robert J. Mongeluzzi/ 

Andrew R. Duffy/

Jeffrey P. Goodman/

Steph Rosenfeld/





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