It was heart wrenching news Friday night in Pleasantville at the Charter school where 11 year old Abiah Jones was a top student."We are totally shocked and devastated and heartbroken at this moment," said Kathy David, Pleasant Tech Academy Principal. It happened at 12:30 p.m. Friday at Morey's Mariner's Landing Pier located at Schellenger Avenue and the Boardwalk.
The ride was in motion at the time, and the girl fell from its upper half onto the passenger loading area below.
Jones was flown by helicopter to Cape Regional Medical Center where she died.
Police say, at this time, it does not appear that Jones was pushed or jumped and indications are this was a terrible accident.
Morey's is closing all three piers out of respect for the family.
People who were on the pier at the time of the incident told Action News the girl may have passed out while the ride was in motion.
"They said she had passed out and fell out of the bucket," said Shanice Robinson of Willingboro, N.J.
"They were doing CPR on her for 15 to 20 minutes and then they took her out," said Bridgett Smith of Willingboro. "There was blood in the water and everything."
Morey's Pier said the exact cause has not been determined, but said the cause did not appear to be the result of a mechanical problem.
"Thus far there has been no indication of mechanical or operational failure, but the investigation is on-going, and when we have more information, we will report that," says Will Morey, President of Morey's Piers.The ride operator, who wouldn't talk on camera, said Abiah was by herself in a middle seat when the accident happened.
That particular Ferris wheel is 156 feet tall and is one of the tallest on the East Coast. The ride was inspected on March 17th of this year and passed.
"The Morey staff and family offer our thoughts and prayers to the family," the statement said.
According to the website for Morey's Piers, Friday was scheduled to be the second day of "The 17th Annual Education Extravaganza." It is described on the site as:
Learning becomes a "day at the beach" when students in grades three through twelve enjoy a day of hands-on learning and interactive participation utilizing the beach and Morey's Piers amusements. Only select rides were opened for the event.
"It's sad. I'm here with the students from my school. When the mother woke up this morning, she never thought this would be the last day she would see her daughter," said Rasohn Giles of Willingboro.
This accident is under investigation by Wildwood Police and the NJ Department of Community Affairs and their Division of Codes and Standards.