CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.J. (CBS) — A makeshift memorial is growing for a little girl who died after falling from an amusement ride in Cumberland County. As the community mourns the 10-year-old victim, festivalgoers are asking questions about the safety of the rides.
“It was just everyone running when I walked up to it. It was something you would never want to see,” Allison McChesney says.
The Deerfield Township Harvest Festival remained opened just hours after a 10-year-old girl was killed riding the “Xtreme,” which is a Wisdom Super Sizzler amusement park ride.
“As soon as I walked in, it was just really quiet, unlike ever before. You can tell something happened,” McChesney added.
It’s a ride hovering feet off from the ground with several carts rotating at high speeds.
In a statement, the township said it kept the festival open for the community to come together in wake of this tragedy.
“It’s devastating. It’s eerie being here,” Jen Hitchner says.
So while the festival closed the game and ride section, it refunded people’s money as New Jersey State Police continues to investigate.
The “Xtreme” attraction is operated by Skelly’s Amusements, who said on its Facebook page while they have been cleared to operate other rides by state police, “we don’t have it in our heart.”
At least 13 people — including the 10-year-old on Saturday — have been killed or seriously injured since the year 2000 on these type of rides around the country, according to an industry analyst.
“This ride is old, you never know what may happen. I know this ride has thrown people out before. I know that it goes too fast and I know that there were problems with the lap bars,” amusement park safety analyst and consultant Ken Martin says.
“I myself wouldn’t feel comfortable putting the kids on those rides, just in light of everything. When something like this happens, it just brings it all back,” Hitchner said.
An investigation is ongoing.