A lawsuit was filed Sunday through the U.S. District Court in Kansas City seeking $100 million in damages on behalf of two of nine members of an Indiana family who died as a result of the tourist duck boat accident at Table Rock Lake.
Shortly after, a second lawsuit was filed Monday in state court on behalf of the three daughters of William and Michelle Bright, of Higginsville, Missouri, who also died in the accident. The wrongful-death lawsuit seeks more than $125,000 in damages.
The emotion in the room at the Conrad Hotel was overwhelming, as many family members described how the tragedy has affected them.
“I lost five adult cousins that I’ve never known life without.”
“We lost a branch of our family tree.”
Kyrie Rose, Belinda “Toni” Coleman’s niece, sobbed as she wondered aloud what the last few minutes must have been like for the Colemans who died.
“For me, I just can’t imagine what they must have been thinking, what they must have been feeling in those moments,” Rose said.
“I know for me I get choked up when I drink a bottle of water and it goes down the wrong pipe the wrong way,” she said. “And in my mind, I’m like, damn, it’s burning that has to be the worst.”
According to court documents, Ripley Entertainment Inc., Ride the Ducks International, Ride the Ducks of Branson, the Herschend Family Entertainment Corp., and Amphibious Vehicle Manufacturing are named in the federal suit. The state-court suit names Riley Entertainment and Ride the Ducks International, as well as boat operators Kenneth McKee and Robert Williams.
A Ripley spokeswoman stated Monday 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 still underway and no conclusions have been reached.