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The tragic Ferris wheel death of 11-year-old Abiah Jones in New Jersey has encouraged stricter rules on amusement park rides and has also spurred her family to hire an attorney.
The new rules are now mandating that riders in Ferris wheels be at least 54 inches tall in order to ride without supervision. The New Jersey Carnival and Amusement Ride Safety Unit are also encouraging that each car have at least two riders, reports CNN.
Young Abiah Jones was on a school trip as a reward for making the honor roll when she fell out of the Ferris wheel to her death.
There were no mechanical defects found with the Ferris wheel at Morey's Piers, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. The New Jersey Department of Community affairs had recently issued a statement suggesting that Abiah may have fallen out of the Ferris wheel because she was riding alone, and that she might have been kneeling or standing on the gondola seat - something she might not have done if there was another rider next to her.
Her parents have retained counsel and are looking into the safety provisions for Ferris wheels as well as the accident record at Morey's Piers, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. While they agree with the state's new recommendations on Ferris wheel rides, they are urging for tougher guidelines, including requiring some sort of safety harness or restraint for all rides.
Morey's Piers or the manufacturer of the Ferris wheel could be found legally liable based on negligence, depending on what the attorneys find. For example, if the operator of the ride did not follow the safety protocol, there could be liability. Or, if there was some defect with the ride itself which contributed to Abiah's death, the manufacturer of the Ferris wheel could also be liable.
However, the attorneys may have their work cut out for them in the Ferris wheel death of Abiah Jones. A report issued by the state said that the ride operators did not know of any underlying problems, that there were no mechanical defects on the Ferris wheel, and that no other problems had been reported at Morey's Piers in the past 25 years.
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