Family of girl who fell from one of nation's largest ferris wheels files wrongful death suit

The family of Abiah Jones, an 11 year-old Philadelphia honor student, filed a wrongful death and negligence suit against the owners of one of the nation's largest ferris wheels.  On June 3, 2011, Jones attended a field trip for honors students, visiting the defendants' amusement park to celebrate the students' exceptional scholastic performance for the preceding school year.  While there, Jones and some of her classmates chose to ride the Giant Wheel, which reaches almost 160 feet above sea level at its highest point and is considered one of the tallest ferris wheel rides in the U.S.  When it was Jones' turn to ride, an employee instructed her to ride in a carriage by herself, since she did not have anyone else in line to accompany her.  According to the lawsuit, the carriages sway a minimum of 90 degrees in calm winds, and are dependent on symmetric weight distribution.  On the day of the accident, the extremely high winds (likely outside the recommended parameters for operating the ride) caused the carriages to sway in excess of 90 degrees.  In addition, Jones had never previously ridden a ferris wheel and received no safety instructions prior to entering the carriage.  During the ride, Jones fell from the carriage, was conscious during the fall, and only died after resuscitative efforts failed.  According to the IAAPA, an amusement park trade group, more than one thousand people sustained injuries on amusement park rides in 2009, the most recent year of available statistics.  For more information on this lawsuit, see Twanda and Byron Jones v. Morey's Pier, Inc., et al. (110700470, Phil. Ct. of Common Pleas)