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.