The ten-year-old girl who died after being thrown from an amusement park ride at a harvest festival in southern New Jersey over the weekend has been identified as Hailey McMullen.
The New Jersey State Police released the girl’s name on Monday, and Deerfield Township School District Chief Administrator Mary Steinhauer-Kula confirmed that Hailey was a fifth-grade student at the local elementary school.
The school official described Hailey as a ‘beloved’ student and expressed condolences to her family and friends.
Troopers were called to the Deerfield Township Harvest Festival in Cumberland County at 6pm on Saturday after Hailey was somehow ‘ejected’ from a Wisdom Super Sizzler ‘Extreme’ ride.
Hailey’s family members were said to have witnessed the accident and was described as ‘distraught.’
Hailey McMullen, 10 (left and right), has been identified as the girl who died on Saturday after being thrown from a festival ride in New Jersey
McMullen plunged from the Wisdom Super Sizzler ‘Extreme’ ride at the Deerfield Township Harvest Festival in Cumberland County
The local Dollar General tore on Sunday created a balloon memorial honoring Hailey, which has been growing steadily
One of the balloons paying tribute to the 10-year-old girl reads, ‘Fly high Hailey’
The fifth-grader was airlifted to Cooper University hospital in Camden, where she was pronounced dead from her injuries at around 7.20pm, police said.
Tara Dixon, who identified herself as the mother of Hailey’s close friend Ilana shared on Facebook multiple photos of the two girls and mourned the 10-year-old’s untimely death.
‘Hailey and Ilana became BFF’s right away,’ Dixon wrote in a status update on Sunday. ‘They have always been two peas in a pod, twinzies! We love you Hailey.’
Dixon shared multiple sweet snaps showing her daughter and Hailey, who had known each other from the age of four, napping side by side, sitting on a couch with a small dog and happily posing up for pictures at local events.
According to the Facebook page of the girl’s mother, Amanda McMullen, the 10-year-old is survived by her parents, an older brother and a younger sister.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy addressed Hailey’s death on Monday, calling it a tragedy, according to NJ.com.
Tara Dixon (pictured far left) shared photos on her Facebook page showing Hailey (pictured), who she said was her own daughter’s best friends
Hailey met Ilana Dixon when the girls were four years old. Ilana’s mother said the pair were ‘BFFs’ and ‘two peas in a pod’
Hailey is survived by her older brother and younger sister (pictured together)
‘How many carnivals have we all gone to. This poor girl. Just an awful tragedy,’ he said.
A balloon memorial honoring Hailey has been growing steadily outside the Dollar General store located just steps away from the fairgrounds in Deerfield.
Assistant store manager Krystal DeFeo told the Vineland Daily Journal both she and her son, who went to school with Hailey, were at the festival on Saturday and witnessed the deadly accident firsthand.
She described the scene in the immediate aftermath of the girl’s fall as ‘petrifying’ and ‘chaotic.’
The festival said on its website that rides were provided by Skelly’s Amusements, of Williamstown, which said on its Facebook page that it was ‘absolutely heartbroken’ by the death.
The festival said on its website that the ride, pictured, was provided by Skelly’s Amusements, of Williamstown, which said on its Facebook that it was ‘absolutely heartbroken’ by the death
‘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,’ the statement said.
New Jersey State police said in a statement: ‘The New Jersey State Police is investigating the death of 10-year-old girl who sustained fatal injuries after she was ejected from an amusement ride at the Deerfield Township Harvest Festival.
‘Based on the preliminary investigation, on Saturday, October 12, at 6:18 p.m., the victim was ejected from a ride called ‘Extreme,’ which is a Wisdom Super Sizzler amusement park ride.
‘As a result, she sustained serious injuries and was airlifted to Cooper Hospital where she was later pronounced deceased at 7:20 p.m.
‘The cause and circumstances remain under investigation, and there is no additional information available.’
Festival organizers canceled Sunday’s parade and said amusement rides and games were temporarily closed pending completion of a state inspection of the rides. All other scheduled festival events were to continue.
Hailey McMullen was airlifted to Cooper University hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said
The Super Sizzler has rotating arms and is made up of 12 cars. Riders, strapped in with lap bars, spin round in different directions.
Skelly’s, which was founded in 1956 and provides rides, games and food concessions for fairs, carnivals and festivals, said it is ‘fully cooperating’ with investigations by state police and the carnival and amusement ride unit in the state Department of Community Affairs.
Festival organizers canceled Sunday’s parade and said amusement rides and games were temporarily closed pending completion of a state inspection of the rides.
Organizers also extended thoughts and prayers to the McMullen family and said the festival would remain open ‘to offer a place for the community to come together in wake of this tragedy.’
They wrote: ‘There was an accident at the Harvest Festival yesterday. The incident is still under investigation. We have learned from the State Police that the young person involved in the accident has succumbed to her injuries and our thoughts and prayers are with her family.
‘The festival will be open today to offer a place for the community to come together in wake of this tragedy.
‘The Amusement rides and games area will be closed today. All other scheduled events at the Festival will continue.’
Organizers also extended thoughts and prayers to the family and said the festival would remain open ‘to offer a place for the community to come together in wake of this tragedy’
Skelly’s earlier said that, based on the preliminary investigations, it had been ‘cleared to operate the remaining rides’ at the festival.
The company wrote on Facebook: ‘We will not be open today at the Harvest Festival. Even though we have been given permission to operate the other rides by the state, we don’t have it in our heart.
‘We thank the sponsors of the Festival for their understanding. We will be issuing refunds at the ticket booth.
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