The 17 people who died Thursday night when the duck boat they were riding sank on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Mo., have been identified. The Kansas City Star now identifies nine of the people who survived and something incredible about them: They're all from the same family, and of the six families who boarded the boat, they're the only family to lose no one, a fact that Star describes as defying "probability to the point of qualifying as unbelievable." They are Gillian Collins, 15; and her father and stepmother, Shayne and Tiffany Collins; and other family members whose relationship the paper does not describe: Cayden, Chloe, and Tomlin McDonald; Tayden Kimbley; Talyssa Mann; and Ronita McKinley, who was injured but is out of the hospital.
There was no trick or method to their survival, says Steve Martin, a chaplain with the Missouri Highway Patrol. "They themselves have no explanation," he says, adding the family members didn't have a plan and that they "ended up in different places and found safety in different ways," though some apparently made it to a riverboat that was nearby and were able to climb up its paddle or hold on to the boat's side. Life jackets may not have been a saving factor either. CNN quotes a source who says none of the dead were wearing one, but a report issued by the Missouri State Highway Patrol lists "no" in the Safety Device category for every survivor as well. (Gillian Collins says the boat's captain was "freaking out.")