An annual fall festival in New Jersey ended on a somber note Saturday night after a 10-year-old girl was ejected from a carnival ride and later died from her injuries.
The girl was on a ride called “Extreme,” which features rotating booths that twist individually while the entire ride goes around in circles, at around 6:15 p.m. when she was ejected from the ride, sustaining serious injuries that required her to be airlifted from the fairgrounds to Cooper University Hospital, the New Jersey State Police announced Sunday.
She later succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead at 7:20 p.m. on Sunday, state police added.
Authorities are investigating the incident but are not identifying the victim. Friends and family of the victim, however, described her as a fifth-grade student at Deerfield Elementary School.
Alex Ortiz—whose daughter attended school with the victim— told NJ.com that the elementary school would be offering grief counseling on Monday to those affected.
“You come thinking the kids will be safe, not a freak accident,” said Ortiz, a Deerfield Township resident who attends the festival with her four kids each year.
Amusement rides and games were closed on Sunday, but the Deerfield Township Harvest Festival, run by the Deerfield Township Recreation Committee, stayed open for all other events.
The company that owns the amusement park rides, Skelly’s Amusements, received permission from the state to reopen on Sunday, but stated in a Facebook post that it was “heartbroken,” adding that it was cooperating with the state police investigation into the incident.
“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,” the statement continued.