Several people injured in Wildwood pier accident

WILDWOOD, N.J. - August 20, 2011 "They need to make sure that maintenance sees these things every morning and check them to make sure they are safe for the kids," said John Reid.

It was business as usual at Morey's Pier Mariners Landing except for the Sea Dragon ride. It was closed and under examination by state inspectors.

Around 9:15pm, a piece of the swinging pirate ship ride's decorative steel mast became detached. Debris fell onto riders. Four riders were treated at the scene by medics, one 13 year old was taken to the hospital. No condition has been released.

Sources say the Sea Dragon had been inspected before the start of the summer season.

"They need to make sure that maintenance sees these things every morning and check them to make sure they are safe for the kids," said John Reid.

The center mast snapped on the Sea Dragon ride Friday night, Wildwood police said. It wasn't immediately clear what caused the mast to break.

A teenager was sent to the hospital with injuries that are not considered life-threatening, and four others were treated at the scene for minor injuries, authorities said.

Wildwood police and the state will investigate. A spokeswoman for the amusement park, Morey's Mariner's Landing Pier, declined to answer questions, including how long the ride would be out of service and whether the park would revisit its safety and inspection procedures.

No one from Morey's Pier was available for an interview Saturday, but in a statement said that the appropriate authorities were contacted and are investigating the incident.

Officials say the damage to the ride is mostly cosmetic; however, it is being thoroughly inspected and will be shut down indefinitely.

It was the park's the second serious accident this summer. On June 3, 11-year-old Abiah Jones of Pleasantville was killed when she fell from a Ferris wheel while at the pier on a school trip for honor-roll students. Officials have said she was alone in a car when she fell.

A state report found the ride's restraints to be working properly and suggested that to get out of the car, a passenger probably would have had to stand.

The Ferris wheel was closed for about two weeks, and new safety precautions were implemented before it was put back in service. The changes included that there be a minimum of two passengers per car, and the minimum height required for someone to ride the 156-foot-high Ferris wheel was raised from 54 inches to 60 inches.

Jones' parents have sued the park, claiming it was negligent to keep the ride open on a windy day. They are seeking unspecified damages and have called for the installation of seat belts or other restraining devices on Ferris wheels nationwide.

Most visitors to the pier on Saturday say they always assume the rides are inspected regularly and are safe.

"We just hope they're safe, and we're here to have fun," said Melanie Vice. "We don't really worry about that."

"I'm a little apprehensive about it," said Reagan Reck. "We just like to have fun, and hopefully everything is taken care of and the rides are inspected."

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