WILDWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — An 11-year-old girl died Friday after falling from a Ferris wheel on the Wildwood boardwalk in New Jersey.
Police said the ride on Mariner’s Landing at Morey’s Piers was turning when the girl fell more than 100 feet to her death. She landed near the entrance to the popular attraction around 12:30 p.m. The girl was taken to a nearby hospital, where she later died.
“All of a sudden, I see people rushing towards the Ferris wheel and I was like ‘what’s going on?’ And I ran over and all of a sudden, I see like this towel and I was alarmed,” witness Travis Smith said.
Police said there was no sign of any horseplay on the ride or any indication that the fatal fall was intentional. For now, authorities are calling the tragedy a freak accident.
“They say that she was walking over to see over the ledge and that she fainted and fell over,” another witness, Tahshon Reece, said.
The park shut down the ride and blocked off the area with police tape. Police said the girl was with one of many school groups to attending the during the attraction’s Education Extravaganza.
“Might just be a freak accident. Until we get some more information, I really can’t tell you any more,” Wildwood Police Capt. Robert Regulato said.
Most of the park’s other rides stayed open. Investigators from the police department and the state’s Department of Community Affairs — which oversees amusement parks — examined the Ferris wheel.
“I’m surprised they didn’t shut the place down. There were a lot of people around so I was kind of surprised,” one park visitor said.
After the accident, schools loaded up their buses and left the pier. The accident remains under investigation.
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