By David Wolf, Attorney and Robert Fernicola, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
In New Jersey, a tragic death was reported. Abiah Jones, age 11, fell from a Ferris wheel ride at Morley Piers Mariner’s Landing Pier during a school field trip to the New Jersey amusement park. She was later transported to Cape Regional Medical Center where she was pronounced dead. It was reported that the ride had passed the State inspection for amusement park rides. The incident is under investigation. See Girls Dies After Fall from Ferris Wheel Ride in New Jersey.
What started out as a simple day at an amusement park for an 11 year old girl turned into a day that will forever change the lives of her family, the school, and he community. The ride is known as the “Big Wheel”. When a tragedy of this nature takes place, there are several issues or questions to may arise:
Who was on the ride with Abiah Jones?
What safety precautions were in place to prevent such incidents or accidents?
What supervision was provided to Abiah and her classmates?
How exactly (based on eyewitness accounts) did Abiah fall from the Ferris wheel?
Was there anything that could have been done to either predict, foresee, or prevent this incident from taking place?
Did the ride function properly at the time of the incident?
Were there any actions that amounted to negligence?
Of course, whatever the answers are to the above questions, an 11 year old girl died on a school field trip when her family was expecting her to return home later that day for dinner. What a tragedy for the family and what sorrow must have been felt to see that empty chair at the dinner table. Hopefully, the family will get support from the community and school in this time of great and unimaginable loss.
The State of New Jersey established The Carnival and Amusement Ride Safety Act which requires an annual inspection of carnival rides. Certification is required for amusement park rides. The State has an engineering staff in place to review, inspect, and enforce the provisions of this law. See New Jersey Carnival-Amusement Ride Safety Act.
While it is helpful to have this law in place, an annual inspection will not safeguard or protect riders especially children from all injuries or incidents at an amusement park or carnival. At times, rides will malfunction and supervision will be lacking. Furthermore, some rides may have a design defect that goes undetected by inspectors and engineers until a tragic personal injury or death takes place.