Boy falls to his death from Ferris wheel

Posted Tuesday, June 20, 2006 9:13 AM | Contributed by DawgByte II

A 6-year-old boy plunged 90 feet to his death from the top of a Ferris wheel while his mother watched from below at the San Joaquin County Fair in California, authorities said.

Read more from AP via CNN.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 9:25 AM
This is really tragic. It brings up the point that I have made many times before here that the old height requirment rules should be serioulsy rethought. While the article did not specify what the minimum height requirment was, I would surmise that less than a decade ago that would have been the average height of a nine or ten year old. There is a big difference in maturity between a six year old and a ten year old. We are seeing an increasingly larger number of children who are taller than "average". A 46" tall six year old is not all that unusual anymore.
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Tuesday, June 20, 2006 9:39 AM
Well, I'm disgusted with the ride operator but I am more disgusted with the parent. She said she "wanted him to ride with other riders" but the operator put him in a godola on his own.

She should have gone on the ride with the boy. If that wasn't possible she should have DEMANDED he ride with others or told the kid he couldn't ride it, period.

One problem is that parents don't know how to say "NO" to their kids these days.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006 9:44 AM
The story said the boy met the 42" height requirement. Even though they interviewed the mother, she never explained why she did not ride with him. She assumed he would ride with another group, but obviously, neither she nor her son asked them because the ride op loaded them separately.

Harsh lesson: Parents must instruct their children to stay seated in the ride vehicle at all times, even when it's stopped. In the case of ferris wheel attractions, parents should make the kid watch an entire ride cycle before queuing -- let them see it stop many times during a ride cycle. Most other kids rides (like carosels, car rides or monster trucks) stop only at the end of the ride, when it's time to get off. A ferris wheel is different, but maybe not in the mind of this boy.

It's sad that anyone loses a child through a senseless accident like this.

*** This post was edited by greatwhitenorth 6/20/2006 9:46:56 AM ***
*** This post was edited by greatwhitenorth 6/20/2006 9:47:29 AM ***

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006 9:58 AM
I absoultly agree with the height requirement thing. I personally like what BGE does for their skyride: 60" or 42" w/ chaperone. Shame on the parents for letting a 6 year old ride a ferris wheel alone (I can definatly see how he could get scared in a gondola all by himself.)
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Tuesday, June 20, 2006 9:59 AM
DawgByte II's avatar More information can be found from their county news website here

It's definately tragic, and everyone's going to be playing the blame-game for this... I'd blame the mother for not supervising her child and proceeding on the ride with him. The ride-operator assumed he would be ok, but that's based upon the speculation he was tall enough & the fact the mother was probably near-by & assumed she knew he'd be ok...

But the lawsuits will be flying soon.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006 2:13 PM
Is this the kind of Ferris Wheel where the 'doors' are not locked? I think the one at Cedar Point has those type of doors. What a senseless death. Sad.
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Tuesday, June 20, 2006 5:04 PM
These days they wouldn't have put him in a tub with strangers without a parent or guardian with him. Fear that they might have put him in with a pedophile has prompted a number of parks and carnivals to make it SOP not to put a small child in with adults other than family. As what has been stated by others here, he should have not been allowed on without an adult. The height requirement is ususally what is recommended by the manufacturer. In California it can be altered if DOSH determines that it is inadequete.
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Wednesday, June 21, 2006 9:48 PM
SFoGswim's avatar ^ That bit about the "other than family" makes me furious. What difference does it make if it's a family or not?! What if the boy's life could have been saved by being placed with someone else? But no, the park has to be too judgemental.

*** This post was edited by SFoGswim 6/22/2006 7:53:47 AM ***

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Sunday, June 25, 2006 7:01 PM
I don't think the height requirement was the issue at all. I think the fact that the child was riding by himself in the Gondola. I used to work a Ferris Wheel, and I never let people ride by themselves...no matter who they were. Its just a risk you don't want to take. Its nice to have a second person there in case something were to go wrong.
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