‘The untold story’: A family of 9 was on Branson duck boat when it sank. All survived


BRANSON MO NEWS: Last week, on a sunny day with a storm in the forecast, six families boarded Stretch Boat 07 in Branson.

Every family lost someone when the boat sank into Table Rock Lake, killing more than half of the 31 passengers.

Every family, that is, but one.

All the members of a family of nine survived — an outcome that defies probability to the point of qualifying as unbelievable, said Mandi Keller of Texas, a member of the family who wasn’t on the boat.

“It is a miracle. A complete miracle,” she said by phone.

Keller is 15-year-old Gillian Collins’ mother.

“My daughter, her dad and the rest of the family are all surviving miracles.”

The unlikely survival of the entire family astonished a first responder there that night.

“To me, that’s really the most remarkable piece to all of this,” said Steve Martin, a chaplain with the Missouri Highway Patrol and Nixa Fire Department. “It’s the untold story.”

Martin was at Branson City Hall to receive the family Thursday night after they were shuttled there, together, unbroken.

“They themselves have no explanation,” he said. “They’re dumbfounded (as to) how they all made it out.”

The family is also grappling with survivor’s guilt, Martin told The Star Sunday inside Williams Memorial Chapel on the College of the Ozarks campus.

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He spoke to dozens gathered inside the church to pay their respects after the horror on the lake.

Tucked away into his prayer, easy to miss, were words he spoke directly to the family.

“Lord, for those who have lost such important parts of their family, we pray for healing and peace that can only come by your power,” he said.

“And for others who have survived who are dealing with the traumatic stress …



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