Mom 'Grieving Really Hard' After Daughter, 10, Dies Being Ejected from Amusement Park Ride
Authorities have identified the victim as 10-year-old Hailey McMullen of Deerfield Township, New Jersey.
Authorities in New Jersey have released the identity of the 10-year-old girl who was killed in a tragic incident on an amusement park ride at the Deerfield Township Harvest Festival on Saturday.
Hailey McMullen, of Deerfield Township, died of severe injuries sustained after she was ejected from a ride called the “Extreme,” a spokesperson for the New Jersey State Police confirms to PEOPLE.
Her cause of death remains unclear, as does the reason she fell from the ride.
Her mother, Amanda McMullen, tells PEOPLE she’s not yet ready to speak about her daughter’s death.
“It’s so much for me,” she says. “She really was truly special and we’re grieving really hard.”
Milton Brown, an attorney representing the McMullens, tells PEOPLE in a statement that the family appreciates the public’s support during this “difficult” time.
“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 statement reads. “Although the family greatly appreciates these thoughts and prayers, they ask that you honor their wishes for privacy during the grieving process.”
Brown added that the incident is currently under investigation and the family is “exploring all options.”
Through Brown, the McMullen family asks that anyone who may have witnessed the accident call his office at 856-845-7898.
Hailey was riding the “Extreme,” a Wisdom Super Sizzler amusement ride that spins passengers in a horizontal circle, when she was ejected and sustained fatal injuries, New Jersey police said in a statement on Sunday. She was airlifted to Cooper University Hospital and pronounced dead at 7:20 p.m., according to authorities.
In a statement to PEOPLE, ride owner Skelly’s Amusements says it received the “Extreme” back from police and has begun dismantling it.
“The last few days have been difficult for many people. We are fully cooperating with inspectors from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs,” the statement reads. “The ride has been released to us by the investigating authorities and we will begin the process of dismantling it.”
Rick Marchione, a spokesperson for Skelly’s, tells PEOPLE that the company’s employees have been left “heartbroken and devastated” over the incident, and that they hope to “get some understanding of what occurred” from an ongoing investigation.
“[Skelly’s] has never had a tragedy like this, or anything even close to this,” he says, noting the company opened its doors in 1956.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy addressed McMullen’s death on Monday, calling it a “tragedy.”
“How many carnivals have we all gone to. This poor girl. Just an awful tragedy,” he said, according to NJ.com.
A fifth-grader in the Deerfield School District, Hailey was described by her classmates as being upbeat.
“She was nice, she was funny, she was always happy,” classmate Roy Wood told WPVI. “She was smart.”