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Tourists will get refund on rental car that fell off Balboa Ferry

January 17, 2012 |  9:42 am

Minivan plunges into Newport Harbor
A family of Taiwanese tourists who plunged into Newport Harbor after their rental car was pushed off the Balboa Island Ferry will get the cost of the car fully refunded, authorities said.

The Chang family was on the ferry Friday when a Mercedes-Benz driver hit the accelerator instead of the brake and rammed into the family's minivan, pushing it into the harbor. Two passersby on boats pulled the family to safety.

Initial reports from the Newport Beach Police Assn. said the Changs were denied a refund or replacement car, the Daily Pilot reported.

In turn, police groups arranged for a replacement vehicle from another rental agency so the Changs "could continue on with their vacation and recover from this traumatic incident," according to the release.

But Sean Busking, vice president of Fox Rent A Car — which has rental locations at airports worldwide and locally, including at John Wayne Airport and LAX — said in a phone interview Monday that the company decided to give a full refund to the Changs for the period they rented their Dodge minivan. He also said the company offered to give them a free rental for the duration of their vacation, although they have since found other accommodations.

"We just wanted to make sure they were taken care of," Busking said.

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-- Lauren Williams, Times Community News

Photo:  Salvage crews work to bring a Dodge minivan to the surface Friday in Newport Harbor near Balboa Island after the vehicle was accidentally pushed off the Balboa Ferry. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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