10-Year-Old Girl Killed After Being Thrown from Amusement Ride
On Oct. 12, a 10-year-old girl lost her life at a harvest festival in Rosenhayn, New Jersey. What should’ve been a lighthearted evening at the festival turned into a tragedy at 6:18 p.m., according to The Vineland Daily Journal.
The girl was thrown from the ride and badly injured. Though she was airlifted to Cooper University Hospital following the accident, she passed away a short while later.
Mary Steinhauer-Kula, the Deerfield Township School District chief administrator, put out a statement explaining the sad turn of events.
“It is with deep and profound sadness that I inform you of the loss of one of our beloved students. Hailey McMullen, a 5th-grade student, was involved in a tragic accident last evening at the Harvest Festival,” the statement read, according to The Daily Journal. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Hailey’s family, our entire school community and all who knew and loved her.”
“When we return to school on Tuesday, we will have grief counselors from our school and surrounding districts to support our students and staff at this most difficult time,” she added.
The Deerfield Township Harvest Festival also sent its condolences to Hailey McMullen’s family.
“There was an accident at the Harvest Festival this year, The incident is still under investigation,” the festival website’s front page reads. “We have learned from the State Police that the young person involved in the accident has succumbed to her injuries.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family. The festival was open on Sunday to offer a place for the community to come together in wake of this tragedy. No admission fee was charged.”
Though the rides were examined and all but the ride the girl had fallen from — called “Xtreme” — were cleared to continue operating, Skelly’s Amusements (the company operating the rides) decided not to run them the day following the accident, according to The Daily Journal.
“We want to thank the paramedics, NJ State Police, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department and the volunteers that responded to the accident last night at the Harvest Festival,” Skelly’s Amusements wrote in an Oct. 13 Facebook post.
“We are absolutely heartbroken. Words cannot express our feelings and we extend our deepest sympathies to the individual’s family and loved ones. We ask that you keep them in your thoughts.
“We are fully cooperating with the investigation being conducted by the State Police and the Carnival and Amusement Ride unit within the Department of Community Affairs.”
The local community pitched in as well, with Shari Leverett, a Dollar General employee, starting a balloon memorial in the young girl’s honor. Krystal DeFeo, the assistant manager, explained that the cause was near and dear to Leverett’s heart.
“We were both at the festival the night that occurred, just feet away,” DeFeo told The Daily Journal.
“[Leverett] lost her 10-year-old daughter a few years ago to childhood cancer, so it was very close to her heart. So the next morning she came in and made the sign and purchased the first 10 balloons in memory of her and put them out, and it just kind of grew from there.”
DeFeo said her son has been shaken by the events that took place Saturday night. She also said it “felt like a movie” and described the scene as chaotic.
“We just wanted to show the family that we care,” she continued. “It’s nice that the community is stepping up and showing that it cares, and it’s beautiful, the light is shining down on the balloons, and it just gives me chills.”
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