N.J. pier reopens after ride fatality
The Wildwood boardwalk amusement which closed after an 11-year-old girl plummeted to her death Friday from a Ferris wheel was reopened Saturday as state and local investigators continued to probe what caused the fatal fall.
The Wildwood boardwalk amusement which closed after an 11-year-old girl plummeeted to her death Friday from a Ferris wheel was reopened Saturday as state and local investigators continued to probe what caused the fatal fall.
Morey's Mariner Landing Pier, where the 156-foot-tall Great Wheel is located, and Surfside Pier both opened at noon Saturday, said Morey's Piers spokeswoman Lindsey Young. The Raging Waters water park reopened at 10 a.m., and Adventure Pier opened at 2 p.m. Young said those are the normal opening hours.
Abiah Jones, a Pleasantville child, fell from the ride at about 12:30 p.m. The park was closed at 5 p.m. instead of the usual 11 p.m.
The Ferris wheel will be out of service until further notice, Young said.
Meanwhile, police and the state Department of Community Affairs, which inspects amusement rides, were both continuing their investigations, she said.
Wildwood Commissioner of Public Safety Anthony Leonetti has said Abiah was riding alone in one of the wheel's gondolas.
Saturday, Young did not say if Abiah was tall enough by the ride's posted regulations to be riding alone, stating all such details were all under investigation. The ride's rules require an accompanying adult for children under 54 inches.
Authorities on Saturday had not noted any obvious mechanical deficiencies. The wheel was last inspected by the state on March 17 and passed that inspection, said consumer affairs spokeswoman Hollie A. Gilroy.
Abiah was at the amusement park for a school trip with classmates from the PleasanTech Academy Charter School. The park was holding its 17th annual Education Extravaganza, two days of education activity and fun that draws thousands of school children each year.
The Great Wheel opened in 1985. Friday's tragedy was Morey's first attraction-related patron fatality in the park's history, which dates to 1969, according to Young.
On Facebook, a page called "R.I.P Abiah Jones who fell off the Morey's Pier Ferris Wheel" was getting an outpouring of comments from people who did not know the child or her family but wanted to offer their condolences.
Others said they knew Abiah.
"Rest In Peace Lil Cousin*...," posted Jah-Quanah Dockery. "we Had So Much Fun Together*...You And Your Many Questions That You Always Had For Me*...I Love You Baby Girl*...You Will Never Be Forgotten*...And Will Always Remain Dear To My Heart."