Grieving Parents Call For Better Ferris Wheel Safety Restraints, Supervision

PLEASANTVILLE, N.J. (CBS) — The grieving parents of a little girl who plunged to her death while riding a giant ferris wheel in Wildwood nearly two weeks ago, are calling for better safety restraints on such rides and more supervision.

Byron and Twanda Jones of Pleasantville, N.J., are trying to cope with the loss of their 11-year-old daughter Abiah who fell some 150 feet from the Giant Wheel at Morey’s Piers on June 3rd. (see related stories)

Byron Jones is angered at the speculation in a preliminary report by state investigators released Monday suggesting his daughter – who was riding in the gondola-style car alone – might have been kneeling or standing on the seat and may have leaned too far out.

He says, so far, no witnesses have been found who could even support that conclusion and video from the pier only captured the girl in mid-fall.

Jones says it’s time for the state to act.

Robin Rieger reports…

“You have to have a seat belt in a car so if you’re 150-something feet in the air, there should be some type of safety, some type of restraint. It doesn’t have to be bars or anything. But it can be a seat belt or some type of safety harness.”

Attorney Larry Bendesky, who is representing the couple, says he has investigators looking at the accident as well as similar accidents involving such ferris wheels around the world. He says the couple isn’t ready to file a suit just yet, but hasn’t ruled out any legal option.

Reported by Mark Abrams, KYW Newsradio

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  • Dave

    Gravity does not engage in racial profiling. It does a great job at keeping stupid in check though.

  • Dave

    Ferris Wheels have been just fine the way they are for a hundred years. The loss of their child is unfortunate, but these people need to go grieve in private and leave the rest of us alone to enjoy these rides just the way they are, thank you very much.

  • jim

    I agree with the parents. There should have been more supervision, particulalry by the the PARENTS of the child who died.

  • Jclem

    THIS IS NOT A COLOR ISSUE!!!!!!!! Please keep your color of skin comments to yourself!

  • Ben

    No Cameras No Harness, No Lawsuit. 11 years old really should be able to follow instructions. If this child had special needs and could not follow instructions then that should belong on the shoulders of the school knowing she needed extra help. If the girl was tall enough to ride alone that should be the only responsibility of the Amusement Park.

    Why should we have a ride ruined or pay higher prices at an amusement park because a child could not follow directions.

    • Kira

      I guess her hair would need to be “blond” to get any sympathy out of you…………..all things in life, including STUPID comments come back around full circle, so watch what you say. I mean like really, at the end of the day, she’s a child……but again, I guess for many of you, wrong color child for you to give a sh?/……..

      To the parents, sorry very for your loss….

      • TT

        Please stop the race card remarks.. They really get old… She, like many other children that got killed on these rides did not follow the rules!!! If she was mentally challenged I would hold the school, as well as the Pier responsible.

      • Asia

        Assume much?

  • Jenny

    There really should be a second person in the other seat. That *is* the safety mechanism for these seats. It’s that simple. If someone faints from fear of heights, hyperventilating, not feeling well, etc, and falls over into the empty side, they can just roll right out from under the bar or slide out the side they are on. While the kid might have been horsing around, it’s really possible, too, that she fainted.

    If they can’t fill all the seats, have the stray single rider wait for the next ride…

    • Asia

      There is no way even a mouse could fall out of the bottom of this particular ferris wheel. The only way to fall out, when the door is closed, is while you are climbing over the top of the waist high bars

  • Terry

    Perhaps the girl should have stayed seated as they instruct. Why is the blame immediately put on the shoulders of the pier and the ride attendants? Everyone else is afraid to say what needs to be said. This is a child who didn’t listen, acted carelessly and paid the price. Perhaps her parents, instead of throwing the blame around, should ask what their daughter was thinking. Yes it’s a tragedy but lets put the blame firmly where it belongs, on the irresponsible and foolish actions of the victim.

    • Kira

      Yup, I’m sure she’ll go down in history as the FIRST child to do something “foolish” and “irresposible”………… r a moron…..

      • TT

        You have a big chip on your sholder…. I know plenty of children (WHITE, BLACK, YELLOW, ETC.) including my son, died being careless. I, as well as most people, feel for the parents of this little girl.. May God be with them..

  • H.A.

    Again, as others have said, I feel sorry for the parents and I don’t wish what they’re going through on anybody. Now, their idea: a safety harness on a Ferris Wheel? The point of a Ferris Wheel is to be relaxed and enjoy the scenery, and enjoy the company of people who are -WITH YOU-. Few things would ruin that more than having every rider locked down by straps or harnesses. Really, by the same principle as what they suggest, every bridge, walkway, pier, mountain path, stairway, etc. in the country should require safety harnesses and tethered fall-prevention equipment (someone died falling down/off of each of those before – probably more times than from a carnival ride, too). Accidents happen – we can’t make sweeping overhauls of safety procedure every time someone makes a mistake; it’s very uncommon for someone to fall from a Ferris Wheel. Why don’t the parents instead demand change to Ferris Wheel policy? Perhaps… children can’t ride alone? Or maybe they could use their story to educate others about safe behavior on elevated heights? Educate the mind and improve human society, instead of leashing everyone like animals.

  • SJ

    An 11 year old should not have been allowed by her school to ride alone. No ferris wheels have restraints other than the fact you’re supposed to sit down in them. I haven’t been on this one so I do not know if it was wide open, with high sides, or what.

    If the 11 year old was standing in a seat (unfortunately no way to prove that), there is no grounds for a lawsuit. Kids these days do as they please with no thought of being careful or calm.

    I’m so very sorry for the parents though. I can’t believe schools even take kids on trips like this anymore these days. Its impossible to properly supervise them, and so much can happen, especially in these days of wild kids.

  • jclem

    just another lawyer getting rich….i feel very bad for these parents. i have been on this same ride hundreds of times in my 46 years on this earth and sitting down ( the way you should be) it is the safest ride i have ever been on! there is no way this girl was sitting still and fell out. a law suite is not the answer!!!! a terrible mistake on the girls part is the cause…..the only cause! no restraint needed!!!!
    the type of safety need is common sense!!!!! so lets use our common sense and
    let this one go as a terrible accident!!!! plain and simple!!!! i am sorry for your loss
    i hope you find the streangth to move on……

  • joe

    as i feel for any grieving parent,this ride i have been on so many times,what they should have done is install cameras all over-i also cant believe that no one saw that this child was not sitting down,just as the rest of the world these parents will sue-which cost everyone–i cant believe they put this girl on the ride by herself-they always pack the cars and usually dont let you ride alonbe-i hope these parents get peace–i also know moreys is one of the best places i was ever at–they are out for safety always-the parents should rethink what the money will bring only bad luck

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