Deerfield Township, NJ – The 10-year-old daughter of a Salem City police officer was killed when she was thrown from a ride at the Deerfield Township Harvest Festival on Saturday.
Police said that Hailey McMullen was at the Rosenhayn Fairgrounds to attend the festival on Oct. 12, New Jersey Advance Media reported.
Shortly after 6 p.m., she boarded a spinning amusement park ride called The Xtreme and a few minutes later, the 10 year old was inexplicably ejected from the ride while it was in motion.
McMullen was airlifted to Cooper University Health Care in Camden where she was pronounced dead at 7:20 p.m., New Jersey Advance Media reported.
An investigation is underway but at this point, it remains unclear how the little girl fell from the ride.
Authorities have not blamed the child’s death on a malfunctioning lap bar or any other failure of the ride’s equipment, New Jersey Advance Media reported.
McMullen, a fifth grader at Deerfield Township Elementary School, was the daughter of Salem City Police Officer Chris McMullen, according to a post on the New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police’s official Facebook page.
As investigators continued to work to determine what caused McMullen to be thrown from the spinning ride, the little girl’s parents have asked any witnesses to the incident to come forward and share what they saw, New Jersey Advance Media reported.
The festival continued to run on Sunday, after the 10 year old was killed, but all of the rides on the Midway remained closed, New Jersey Advance Media.
Rich Marchione, a manager for Skelly’s Amusements who provided the rides, called McMullen’s death a “punch in the gut.”
Marchione said that ride has never had an incident in 27 years of operation, New Jersey Advance Media reported.
He also said the ride had been permitted and inspected, along with every other ride at the festival.
Marchione said The Xtreme, which is also known as the Super Sizzler, the Dizzy-Go-Round, and The Scrambler, was manufactured by Wisdom Rides Inc., according to New Jersey Advance Media.
Skelly’s Amusements was cooperating with the authorities and did not plan to re-open until after the investigation has been concluded.
The ride was taken apart and transported to Williamstown for further investigation on Monday, New Jersey Advance Media reported.
The New Jersey State Police and the Carnival and Amusement Ride Unit of Division of Community Affairs are the agencies leading the investigation.
Meanwhile, the McMullens are hoping that someone comes forward with cell phone video or a better description of the incident, New Jersey Advance Media reported.
“The parents of Hailey McMullen would like to thank you for the love, support and prayers given to them during this difficult time in their lives,” the family said in a statement released by their attorney, Milton W. Brown. “Although the family greatly appreciates these thoughts and prayers, they ask that you honor their wishes for privacy during their grieving process.”
Brown refused to comment on whether McMullen’s parents were planning to file a lawsuit but said the grieving parents were “exploring all options,” New Jersey Advance Media reported.
The Salem City Police Department has set up an account to assist the McMullen family with the funeral expenses.
Checks can be made out to SPOA (Salem Police Officers Assoc) PO Box 62, Salem, NJ 08079 Please write “Hailey McMullen” in the memo line.
Deerfield Township School District Superintendent Mary Steinhauer-Kula said in a statement that grief counseling services were being offered to students and staff at Deerfield Elementary School.