Now that summer and warm weather are finally here, we’ve enjoyed resuming our outdoor activities. People across New York visit local amusement parks and spend time relaxing by the water. However, when property owners maintain unsafe property, innocent victims can be hurt or killed.
After the death of a young girl who fell out her seat while riding on a Ferris wheel, new guidelines for Ferris wheel safety are being considered. Calling attention to the dangerous ride operation, the Department of Community Affairs has recommended that Ferris wheel operators make some operational changes, such as requiring at least two persons to ride together in a seat.
In the case of this Ferris wheel, the manual governing the ride allowed for passengers over the age of 10 and taller than 54 inches to ride alone. The girl involved in the fatal accident met both requirements.
Investigators did not find evidence of any operational or mechanical problems with the ride, which has no safety restraints such as lap bars or seat belts. Each of the seats is surrounded by steel bars that are latched from the outside. Inspection of the bars after the accident showed they were closed and latched as required.
The accident report stated that though the steel railings did make it virtually impossible for anyone properly seated to fall, it also acknowledged that a person standing on or leaning out of the seat too far could lose their balance and fall.
Investigators say that it is likely the girl was either standing or leaning out of her seat in advance of the fall, but the absence of any eye-witnesses or a video of the accident make it nearly impossible to say that for sure.
Source: Shore News Today, “State calls for tougher rules on Ferris wheels,” Lauren Suit, 15 June 2011