SEATTLE - It has now been one year since the devastating crash on the Aurora Avenue Bridge where a duck boat crashed into a tour bus killing 5 and injuring dozens more. Many of the people on the tour bus were international students from North Seattle College who were checking out the city on one of their first days in America.
Earlier that day, a friend captured a picture of North Seattle College student Phoung Dinh at Gasworks Park. Little did she know, the Aurora Bridge behind Dinh was a bridge she nearly died on just hours later.
Dinh was in the tour bus hit by the duck boat, a crash that crushed the left side of her body.
We spoke to her in a nursing home in the weeks after the incident. She recalled the scare.
“I saw my leg, the bone outside my leg,” Dinh said. “It was so painful.”
Four months after the crash she moved from the nursing home to a First Hill apartment in Seattle. Her leg was still so injured she could hardly walk.
“I look down and it does not feel like my leg anymore,” Dinh told us four months after the crash. “It’s so weak and it does not feel like my leg.”
It’s now been a year since this devastating crash, a year since this woman from Vietnam arrived in America to go to school. She still has never been to class.
“I feel like I just lost a year doing nothing and I’m much slower than some of my friends,” Dinh said this week. “They came over here and they’ve already done their first year and I haven’t even started yet.”
Her injuries to her leg are still so severe she requires physical therapy a few times a week. She picked her First Hill apartment simply because it’s close to the hospital.
Attorney Karen Koehler represents 20 of the people who were injured and the family of one person who was killed.
“It’s really just pretty awful,” Attorney Karen Koehler said. “Not only do we have people, like Phoung, who are injured by what happened physically, but they all are still traumatized by what happened.”
“Many of them don’t want to talk about this, and it’s been a year, but they are struggling,” Koehler added.
As Phoung slowly tries to move forward she thinks of her future with hopes of better days.
“My hope for my future is that I can be myself that I used to be before. I used to be active, be running, doing whatever I wanted to do. And finish my studying, finish my career, and continue my life,” Dinh said.
Phoung’s parents moved from Vietnam after the crash to be with her everyday as she recovered. They just left this week, but the good news is, Dinh starts school on Monday.