NJ teen leaps from chairlift as storm threatens

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (AP) - July 9, 2012

Melanie Rossomando of Springfield told television station News12 New Jersey she decided to jump rather than risk being hit by lightning as she celebrated her 17th birthday Saturday at the Casino Pier amusement park.

A video posted to YouTube shows the girl kicking off her shoes and jumping off the Sky Ride as dark clouds and heavy winds roll in. It doesn't, however, show her landing on the beach.

"In my mind I was like, I'm either getting struck by lightning or I'm breaking a leg maybe," Rossomando said.

News12 said the girl was bruised but otherwise uninjured. It is unclear how far she fell.

"I'm not a calm person," Rossomando told the TV station. "I'm really not. I freaked out. You can hear in the video I was screaming bloody murder."

The operators of the Casino Pier said the chair ride was in standby mode and no new passengers were being allowed on when the power went out. They said staff, following emergency procedures, evacuated the remaining riders and that they didn't know a passenger had jumped off until they saw the video Sunday.

The chairlift takes riders above the beach and boardwalk, offering cool ocean breezes and views of MTV's "Jersey Shore" house, among other things.

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