The parents of an 11-year-old girl who died after falling from a Ferris wheel in Wildwood, N.J. are pressing charges against the ride’s operator.
According to the Associated Press, Twanda and Byron Jones of Pleasantville, NJ, filed a lawsuit in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court on July 7. Their daughter, Abiah Jones, fell to her death from a 156-foot Ferris wheel at Morey’s Mariner’s Landing Pier while on a class field trip on June 3.
The couple filed the suit in Philadelphia because Morey’s Pier does heavy marketing in the area.
In the suit, the Jones’ allege that it was their daughter’s first time riding the Ferris wheel and that she was not informed of the safety precautions prior to getting on, the Egg Harbor Township, N.J. Shore News Today reported. The suit also claimed that Morey’s had planned to install safety restraints, but had failed to do so. The parents said the Ferris wheel operators told the girl to get on the ride by herself.
Following the incident, the state Department of Community Affairs, which presides over amusement parks, said that the reason for Abiah’s fall was unknown and there were no eyewitnesses. A security camera captured the girl falling from the ride, but didn’t reveal how she got out of her seat.
The department later released a report calling for Ferris wheel operators to adopt a two-rider minimum policy to prevent similar accidents from occurring. The department claimed that while it is nearly impossible to fall from the ride if you are seated properly, it is possible to fall out if you are standing, kneeling or leaning too far out of the ride.
Since the department’s report, Morey’s has increased the ride’s minimum height requirement and has adopted the two-person rule.
While the Jones’ suit does not seek specific damages, it has requested a jury trial.