911 calls: NJ 10-year-old ‘sucked under ride after being ejected
DEERFIELD — Emergency calls from the night 10-year-old girl was ejected from the Xtreme carnival ride paint a grim picture of what happened at the Deefield Harvest Festival.
State Police said the 5th grader was ejected from the "Xtreme" — also known as the "Super Sizzler" by amusement ride manufacturer Wisdom — at the festival at the Rosenhayne Fairgrounds on Morton Avenue around 6:15 p.m. Hailey McMullen was flown to Cooper University Health Care in Camden where she was pronounced dead.
State Police and the Department of Community Affairs, which regulates amusement rides, have not disclosed additional information about the incident since initial statements on Saturday.
Three 911 calls obtained via an Open Public Records Act request by New Jersey 101.5 and redacted by officials to eliminate personal information give an idea of what happened in the minutes after people at the festival watched the tragedy unfold before their eyes.
"She fell out of the ride and got hit by the ride," a woman tells the dispatcher. The caller tells the dispatcher that people are around her including a sheriff's officer and someone performing CPR.
"A girl just fell out of the ride. I don't know if there's paramedics here but there's a bunch of people here and she's not moving," another woman who claimed to have witnessed the incident tells an operator. The caller says the girl was in the back of the ride and had gone "over the rail" of the ride that went "round and round."
"She came out of it and it whipped around and pushed her down underneath the ride," the woman tells the operator.
"It wasn't far. Maybe 3 feet off the ground. It sucked her underneath, it sucked her around. It was spinning around so she got beat up by the seat when she got out," the caller says.
A third caller tells the operator the ride "sucked her under."
Her mother, father, brother and sister released a statement Wednesday via attorney Milton Brown, who said the family is pondering their next legal move as they prepare to lay her to rest.
"We are still investigating the accident and all options are on the table," Brown told New Jersey 101.5.
The family thanked everyone "for the love, support and prayers given to them during this difficult time in their lives. Although the family greatly appreciates these thoughts and prayers, they ask that you honor their wishes for privacy during their grieving process," according to their statement.
Hailey’s viewing will be open to the public and held on Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. at 1524 Bridgeton Millville Pike, Millville. The funeral will be held on Saturday and will be a private ceremony for immediate family only.
The Salem Police Officer’s Association has created an account to assist the family with Hailey’s funeral expenses. Checks or donations may be sent to: Salem Police Officer Association (SPOA), c/o Hailey, PO Box 62, Salem, NJ 08079-0062. All donations will go to the McMullen family.
The family asked anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information to contact State Police detectives at 856-45100101 or 856-845-7898.
Skelly Amusements, the operator of the festival rides, said the ride has been dismantled. Spokesman Rick Marchione told People magazine that the incident was the company's first fatality and employees are "heartbroken and devastated."
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