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Girl, 11, Dies After Fall From Giant Ferris Wheel In Wildwood

WILDWOOD, N.J. — A young girl has died after falling from The Giant Wheel at Mariner’s Landing, which is located at Schellenger Avenue and the Boardwalk.

The accident, authorities say, happened at about 12:30 p.m. Friday when 11-year-old Abiah Jones, a student at Pleasant Tech Academy Charter School in Pleasantville, NJ, fell from the ride while it was in motion. The girl was in a gondola approximately 100 feet from the ground when she feel.

Jones was airlifted to Cape Regional Medical Center where, according to the Cape May County prosecutor’s office, she was pronounced dead.

Police aren’t saying anything about how she fell or what happened leading up to the fall, but say she landed in an area where people enter and exit the ride.

“They said that she was looking over to see over the ledge and she fainted and fell over,” said one eyewitness.

Morey’s Piers released a statement that read in part:

“The exact cause of the incident has not been determined, but at this time does not appear to be mechanical in nature. The incident is being investigated. The Morey staff and family offer our thoughts and prayers to the family.”

Select rides at the pier had opened at 11 a.m. It was packed with children in grades three through 12 who were attending day two of the annual Education Extravaganza. Morey’s Piers web site describes the event as one that makes learning, “a day at the beach.”

Although the cause of this incident is under investigation, at this time, police say it appears to be just a “freak” accident.

The Ferris wheel, which is 156 feet high and one of the tallest on the East Coast, passed annual inspection on March 17th.

The Wildwood Police Department and Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office are investigating.

The parks closed at 5 p.m. and are scheduled to reopen Saturday.

Reported by Oren Liebermann, CBS 3; Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio

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  • Karen

    Tom, why does this have to be a racial thing? A child died.

    Morey’s does have a great safety record, how does it change the fact that a tragedy occured to state that? Kids have tried to get around safety equiptment on rides since they were invented. The main thing is this child should have never been alone on the ride, there really isn’t much investigating that can be done.

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  • Tom

    What a load of BS…did you hear the police man in the CNN video…He said “Morey’s Piers goes above and beyond for safety we work with them all the time” Who the Freak cares!! Do your job!! And Investigate!!! Someone better investigate the police investigating this so called accident, the police might have a conflict of interest here. HOW DARE THIS COP say that??? If it was my kid I would Punch him in the face and demand someone else investigate…I wonder if the victim being Black has something to do with this Cop automacticlly taking the Amusement parks side??

  • Jennifer Braun Flores

    We can all go around placing blame on anyone but the mear fact of the matter is that a young girl died in a very tragic accident and all we should do is be respectful of her family and allow them the chance to grieve. For once can’t WE as a society just be respectful of another persons tragedy and REST OUR JUDGEMENTS for another time. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

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  • Nancy53410

    Something is not right here. WHY would anyone on a ride like this, have the ability to stand (??) and look out over the edge while so high off the ground and in a gondola obviously swaying back ‘n forth? With all the safety rules that get imposed, this one got past us?? I have grandchildren this age and would NEVER allow them on a ride such as this WITHOUT SUPERVISION. I agree with others here before me, that this should have been better enclosed, and with the safety bars or belts that NO ONE can unhook but the person running the ride. Prayers go out to the family. And imagine what this has done to all the children who were in the area when this happened? To hear she fell right where the line was for entering and exiting this ride? HOW AWFUL!! You trust your school & it’s chaperones to return your children safety from any trips.

  • Nostromo

    Morey’s Bier.

  • Greg

    Even if it did have seat belts what makes you think that people wont remove it to get a better look down for a thrill? What is this the first accident they had on that ride since it was built in 1985 or 1986. Very sad story though.

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  • mary

    There should be safety bars that go all the way up to the top of each cart…especially given the size of this ferris wheel.

  • Kathleen Roberts

    WHY WHY WHY? Why is it that we need seat belts in Our cars, planes, even hi-chairs and baby coaches have seat belts. No seat belts are required for school buses and even more 165 ft rides like ferris wheels. I just don’t get it. I’m so sad for the parents and family of this child who’s life was snuffed away over an amusement ride.

    • jr

      Kathleen – you are SO right! This young child did not have to die in this manner. There should be steel bars – up to the roof and there should be strong tethers to reinforce a strong steel gate. …with the way the gondolas are shaped there should have been an adult in the gondola with the children. The gondolas are too unsafe for teens, let alone an 11 year-old. A very tragic situation for all.

    • M

      Kathleen, I have to disagree. I for one and tired of the state and federal government mandating all of these safety guidelines under the slogan “if it saves just one child’s life…” This WAS a terrible tragedy that no parent should have to suffer. I feel ready bad for the family. Tell me how may students were killed in bus accidents this year as a result of no seat belts? More kids drown in buckets used for cleaning each year than that. Maybe we should outlaw buckets? I am required to wear a seat belt by law but not a helmet on a motorcycle? What sense does that make? The government can not make mandate to prevent a tragic accident. Ferris Wheels have been around for a long time and rarely do you hear about an accident unless the ride was not maintained.

  • Barb

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family and her classmates at this time.May God send some peace during this horrific time.Love and God Bless

  • ChickSyx Tsyx

    I heard she looked over the side and fainted and thus fell

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