Earlier this month, 11-year-old Abiah Jones tragically fell to her death on a class trip while riding the Giant Wheel at Mariner’s Landing in Wildwood, New Jersey. Her parents have rightfully described Abiah’s death as a “nightmare,” and are calling for safety harnesses to be installed on amusement park rides. The family’s lawyer, Larry Bendesky, told reporters, “We are committed to investigating this tragic accident to ensure that it never happens again.”
Preliminary reports about the incident indicate that Abiah was riding the Giant Wheel alone. Reuters adds that “the ride had no restraints.” Abiah likely fell as a result of kneeling or standing on the seat. “It can be said with some confidence that the victim was not properly seated in the vehicle,” the report said.
That statement leads to a whole slew of questions, like why are children allowed to ride alone on a 156-foot high Ferris wheel? According to the report, “Riding alone may have led her to take a risk that she would have been convinced not to take if there were other riders in the gondola.” The initial suspicion was that “maybe she was looking around,” Wildwood Police Capt. Robert Regalbuto, said, or that Abiah passed out from fear, as Strollerderby’s Danielle Sullivan wondered.
Like Danielle, I’m a New Yorker, and I love taking my daughter to Coney Island’s Luna Park. But I worry about her safety, even on the kiddie rides. I’m happy that my 5-year-old isn’t a “scaredy cat,” a moniker she loves to throw at me when we’re in thrill-seeking situations, but I don’t think I’ll ever stop worrying about freak accidents like this. Fortunately, as Danielle noted, risk of death from amusement park rides is extremely low.
Do you think Abiah’s death will result in stricter safety regulations for amusement parks? Do you let your child go on rides alone?
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