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UPDATE: Taiwanese Family Rescued After Car Plunges Off Balboa Ferry

Witnesses say a Mercedes rear-ended a minivan aboard the boat, pushing it into the water.

Two cars collided aboard the Balboa Island Ferry early Friday, sending one to the bottom of the bay, although the passengers escaped safely before it sank, a fire official said.

The incident occurred around 9 a.m. when the cars were loading onto the ferry.  Jennifer Schulz, of the Newport Beach Fire Department, said a minivan carrying a visiting family from Taiwan loaded onto the ferry first and was pushed into the bay by a Mercedes-Benz.

"The driver stated her accelerator got stuck and pushed the first vehicle into the bay," Schulz explained.

According to Schulz, witnesses reported seeing the van floating for several minutes, during which time a boat pulled aside the vehicle and assisted the family out through the windows. The driver of the second car was able to evacuate on her own. Nicholas Nagel, 29, the ferry operator, also jumped into the water to help the family.

"Everyone was rescued safely, with no injuries," Schulz said.

The US Coast Guard and Orange County Sheriff’s Department removed the van from the bay shortly after 1 p.m. with the assistance of a private marine salvage company. Newport Beach police assisted the family with finding another rental car.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Nathan Anderson January 13, 2012 at 06:16 PM
No way! I'm glad everyone is ok!
Nisha Gutierrez-Jaime (Editor) January 13, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Yes everyone is safe, pictures from the scene will be up in a few minutes.
Ava January 13, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Friday the 13th
tt January 13, 2012 at 09:37 PM
I uploaded some pics.. I am glad everyone is safe.. so I hope those people get a refund..lol.. We were on the ferry 20 minutes before.. So Scary!
Nisha Gutierrez-Jaime (Editor) January 13, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Hi TT, looking at your pics now! Thanks so much for sharing them with Patch, much appreciated. I'm so glad everyone is safe.
tt January 13, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Thanks Nisha.. you too.. What a Friday the 13th.. I was just saying last week.. Has any of the cars gone off to my friend who used to be a ferry boat skipper when we were in high school.. so that would be interesting.. a couple have right?
Regina Scholey January 13, 2012 at 10:43 PM
I don't understand how they could've fallen into the water. The ferry has a bar on the water side that is always down
Nisha Gutierrez-Jaime (Editor) January 13, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Hi Regina, I just updated the story. The van floated for a few minutes before it sank, looks like the bar was broken through.
Susan Hoffman January 14, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Just added a photo with the new rail replacement. The railings and tire blocks are not that strong which is why they have backups.
Laura Nott January 14, 2012 at 11:59 PM
The woman said the family was in a rental car. Sure hope they bought the insurance. :) Thank god everyone is OK.

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