Family Rescued After Minivan Knocked Off Ferry

No one was hurt, but it was a close call for people in the minivan

By Yvonne Beltzer
|  Friday, Jan 13, 2012  |  Updated 6:33 PM PDT
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An accident on the ferry that runs between Balboa Island and Balboa Peninsula ended with a rental minivan sinking to the bottom of the harbor. The family of four that was inside got out

Vikki Vargas and Kevin Dahlgren

An accident on the ferry that runs between Balboa Island and Balboa Peninsula ended with a rental minivan sinking to the bottom of the harbor. The family of four that was inside got out

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Mercedes Knocks Minivan Off Balboa Ferry

A Mercedes accelerated onto the ferry and knocked the minivan into the water.
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A minivan carrying a family of four on vacation from Taiwan plunged off the Balboa Ferry Friday morning after it was struck by another vehicle.

RELATED: What To Do If Your Minivan Sinks

A ferry worker dove into the water and helped the family escape, getting the fourth person out of the minivan just seconds before it sank 15 feet into Newport Harbor.

Witnesses said the family remained calm throughout the ordeal. 

"Kids were sitting there playing on the phone," said witness Matt Reed. "The mom and dad were sitting there looking around. They were completely calm." 

No one was hurt -- the van went under just after the final passenger was rescued. 

In addition to the ferry worker who led the rescue effort, two boaters pulled alongside to help.

Witnesses said a black Mercedes-Benz accidentally accelerated as it boarded the ferry. It rammed the minivan, pushing it into the water. Deputies said the driver would not be cited.

The Mercedes was also left teetering off the end of the ferry, but workers were able to keep it from following the minivan into the harbor.

The incident occurred shortly after 9 a.m. on the Balboa Island side of the ferry run.

Witnesses also said the minivan floated for about a minute and a half before it sank.

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