Survivor of ‘Ride the Ducks’ deadly crash files suit against company, says she feels abandoned

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SEATTLE -- A victim of September's deadly crash involving a 'Ride the Ducks' amphibious vehicle and a charter bus on the Aurora Avenue Bridge says she feels like an afterthought.

Five students attending North Seattle College were killed on the bus.

Dozens of others were also hurt in the accident.

The attorney representing survivor Phuong Dinh filed a lawsuit against Ride the Ducks.

Dinh is also upset with North Seattle College and the mayor's office for what she calls unfulfilled promises.

It's been two months of physical therapy for Dinh, who has been learning to walk again since the horrific crash. Dinh was inside the charter bus when the duck boat crashed into it.

“I saw my leg, the bone was outside my leg -- so painful,” Dinh said.

The physical pain is lessening but the loneliness, recovering in a foreign country, is getting worse.

“I think the community has forgotten us,” Dinh said.

The foreign exchange student from Vietnam says she feels abandoned by North Seattle College and the Mayor’s Office. Her attorney says they promised to help the victims. Besides the Salvation Army helping her parents with housing, Dinh says the college and city have not directly given her any financial help.

“The school is supposed to help us the most, they have hardly come to see me,” Dinh said.

To make matters worse, Dinh’s insurance will end in January. Due to her injuries, she cannot attend classes so she can’t hold on to her current insurance.

“The school should have had some type of a plan to take care of all the students who are still in nursing homes,” Dinh’s attorney, Karen Koehler, said.

Her attorney is also pointing the finger at Ride the Ducks, filing a lawsuit against the company Wednesday morning.

“I am appalled that there has been no outreach, no effort, no funding, no anything,” Koehler said.

Ride the Ducks attorney Patricia Buchanan says the company has to follow its insurance process.

“Ride the Ducks Seattle absolutely does want to help and would if we could step outside of the process but doing so could potentially jeopardize benefits for everyone involved,” Buchanan said.

It's a disappointing answer for Dinh, who is fighting to get back to normal and one day resume her studies in Seattle.

“If they are not responsible for their customers, is it good enough for them to get back to the street?” Dinh said.

Ride the Ducks have been off the streets as an investigation continues into the crash.

In response to Dinh’s story, North Seattle College says they have raised $11,000 for the people affected.  The college also released this statement:

“We are committed to doing all we can for those affected including the families who lost loved ones as well as our injured students and staff, to help them and our entire community heal from this tragic accident."

The Mayor’s Office said that immediately after the crash the city helped raise more than $70,000.

After hearing about Dinh’s insurance problems, a spokesperson for the mayor Wednesday evening said the city is talking to the state insurance commissioner to try to help find options for Dinh.