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Girl killed in Ferris wheel fall at NJ boardwalk

Posted by on Jun. 4, 2011 at 12:36 AM
  • 20 Replies

WILDWOOD, N.J. – An 11-year-old girl on a school trip to a Jersey shore amusement park died Friday when she fell 100 feet from a moving Ferris wheel.

Police Capt. Robert Regalbuto said Abiah Jones of Pleasantville was with her classmates from Pleasant Tech Academy when she fell from the ride at 12:30 p.m.

She was driven to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead about 45 minutes later.

A medical helicopter was initially called for, but paramedics at the scene, seeing how grave the girl's injuries were, decided not to wait, and took her to the hospital in an ambulance.

"I'd like to say how sorry we are for the incident that occurred here," said Will Morey, president and CEO of the Morey Organization, which has owned amusement parks at the Jersey shore since 1969. This was the first death of a patron in the history of the organization, he added.

A Wildwood police statement said the cause of the fall remains unknown. She fell from the upper half of the ride, about 100 feet.

The 156-foot-tall Ferris wheel is among rides at Morey's Mariner's Landing Pier. Both Morey's and police said the problem did not appear to be mechanical.

Morey said it appears Jones was alone in one of the car's passenger gondolas, which is secured with a double latch. The door of the car opens inward, making it difficult to climb out of, he said.

The girl's body was found in the passenger loading area of the ride on the boardwalk, leading authorities to believe she fell from near the top of the ride because that's the trajectory she would have followed as she fell, Morey said.

The popular park was packed with school children attending a special school-related promotional day called "Education Extravaganza."

Morey's said in a statement the cause was being investigated.

Police took photographs of various passenger carts on the Ferris wheel, part of which was covered in white sheets, and were looking for witnesses to the fall.

The Ferris wheel, which was built in 1985, most recently passed an inspection on March 17, according to the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, which was examining the ride and conducting an investigation into the death. The Ferris wheel will remain closed until the cause is determined, Morey said.

According to a 2010 report from the National Safety Council, the estimated number of amusement ride-related injuries on fixed-site rides nationwide was 1,086 or 0.6 per million patron rides.

Colleen Mangone, a spokeswoman for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, said the odds of being seriously injured at one of the United States' 400 fixed-site amusement parks are 1-in-9 million.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the young guest," she said. "Events like this are extremely rare, and safety is the number one priority for the amusement park industry."

Approximately 280 million guests visit those theme parks each year, taking 1.7 billion rides, she said.

After closing the Ferris wheel and a few others nearby but keeping the rest of the park open throughout the afternoon, the amusement park's owners decided around 4 p.m. to close the entire park for the remainder of the night. It was due to reopen Saturday morning.

"The Morey staff and family offer our thoughts and prayers to the family," the park's operators said in a statement.

by on Jun. 4, 2011 at 12:36 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Mommy_of_Riley
by Jes on Jun. 4, 2011 at 12:38 AM
How sad...
:-(

I HATE Ferris Wheels... I almost fell out of one when I was 16... They are so unstable an just scary!!!

That poor family...
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wickedfiress
by Kellie on Jun. 4, 2011 at 12:43 AM

You're just determined to make me full on cry tonight aren't you?

And see Arroree, I told you this afternoon that those "gondolas" freaked me out!

Veni.Vidi.Vici
by on Jun. 4, 2011 at 12:45 AM

I HATE carnivals and boardwalk rides. HATE THEM!! This is overwhelmingly sad. Poor baby!! = (

wickedfiress
by Kellie on Jun. 4, 2011 at 12:50 AM

And the "gondola" type cars on those don't have sides too high to climb over, even without the door being open.

She was riding alone, and fell from the topmost position? Sadly I'm thinking all that adds up to suicide.

Goodwoman614
by Satan on Jun. 4, 2011 at 1:52 AM


Quoting wickedfiress:

And the "gondola" type cars on those don't have sides too high to climb over, even without the door being open.

She was riding alone, and fell from the topmost position? Sadly I'm thinking all that adds up to suicide.


OR just an idiot kid who thought she'd weasel out of the doors and try to wave to her friends in the car below.  If I were a betting type, that would be were my money'd go.

Having said that, protecting idiot kids from offing themselves accidentally (or on purpose) is job #1 for any business that involves itself with kids.  I smell new regs: nobody under 18 rides alone; perhaps cameras placed to have a view of the passenger cars at all times...or maybe enclosing the cars in netting...

wickedfiress
by Kellie on Jun. 4, 2011 at 1:59 AM


Quoting Goodwoman614:


Quoting wickedfiress:

And the "gondola" type cars on those don't have sides too high to climb over, even without the door being open.

She was riding alone, and fell from the topmost position? Sadly I'm thinking all that adds up to suicide.


OR just an idiot kid who thought she'd weasel out of the doors and try to wave to her friends in the car below.  If I were a betting type, that would be were my money'd go.

Having said that, protecting idiot kids from offing themselves accidentally (or on purpose) is job #1 for any business that involves itself with kids.  I smell new regs: nobody under 18 rides alone; perhaps cameras placed to have a view of the passenger cars at all times...or maybe enclosing the cars in netting...

I don't know. The riding alone, it what speaks to me as something different.

If she had friends also riding, not one would ride in the car with her?

It's amazing how people don't hold themselves to the standards they set for others.

katzmeow726
by on Jun. 4, 2011 at 2:26 AM

 The story said she was riding alone...something hits hard about that.  I have to wonder if she committed suicide.  I hate the thought of a child feeling THAT overwhelmed...but I have to wonder.

sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Jun. 4, 2011 at 8:50 AM
A friend of min was just telling me about get super shy sons trip with school...he came home and told her it was the worst day ever..

Because on the bus ride up and back no one sat with him...

I would hate to find out this was a suicide...but it's the first thing I thought when I read this.




Quoting katzmeow726:

 The story said she was riding alone...something hits hard about that.  I have to wonder if she committed suicide.  I hate the thought of a child feeling THAT overwhelmed...but I have to wonder.


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prettymama72106
by Silver Member on Jun. 4, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Agreed especialy when you add that to the fact that nothing appears wrong mechanically noone has ever died before and it has been open for a long time, she fell from so high up. While I hate to even think it when you add all the peices up i have to honestly wonder if it was suicide.

Quoting katzmeow726:

 The story said she was riding alone...something hits hard about that.  I have to wonder if she committed suicide.  I hate the thought of a child feeling THAT overwhelmed...but I have to wonder.


chrismom0306
by Member on Jun. 4, 2011 at 1:31 PM

I thought the same thing when reading this. Scares the hell outta me having an 11 yr old son that someone this age can be going through so much that dying is their only outlet. I hope that isnt the case in this but thats what it sounds like. that poor girl and her poor family. they may never know what really happened. :(

Quoting prettymama72106:

Agreed especialy when you add that to the fact that nothing appears wrong mechanically noone has ever died before and it has been open for a long time, she fell from so high up. While I hate to even think it when you add all the peices up i have to honestly wonder if it was suicide.

Quoting katzmeow726:

 The story said she was riding alone...something hits hard about that.  I have to wonder if she committed suicide.  I hate the thought of a child feeling THAT overwhelmed...but I have to wonder.



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