On a busy street in Orlando’s tourist district, a 14-year-old boy ‘Tyre Sampson’ from Missouri lost his life late Friday night after falling from a 430-foot thrill ride at an amusement park, officials said.
Emergency crews from the Orlando Sheriff’s Office and the International Drive Fire Department responded to the Orlando Free Fall ride late Thursday. The attraction opened late last year at ICON Park on International Drive.
The boy died at Arnold Palmer Hospital as a result of his injuries. Tyre Sampson, who is from Missouri, visited Orlando with his family during spring break.
Just after 11 p.m., Sampson and his friends hopped on the ride. Minutes later, they heard screams for help.
One 911 caller said the ride was going and the man just got off in the middle.
Terrifying moment of Sampson falling out of his seat captured in a video
NBC’s “Today” show aired a video Friday morning showing passengers on the ride discussing seat restraint issues. Later, a person is seen falling from the ride after the ride began climbing the tower.
Minutes before launching upward, passengers can be heard discussing seat restraint issues. According to a ride spokesperson, all seats should lock before the ride starts.
In order to operate the ride, the locks have to be locked. So that is what John Stine from the SlingShot Group is looking into. It has been decided that the Orlando FreeFall and Orlando SlingShot, adjacent rides, will remain closed until further notice.
Sheriff John Mina said his office will determine whether a criminal charge should be filed or if the accident was an accident. As far as his father is concerned, Simmons should still be alive.
Sheriff John Mina held a press conference about the incident
According to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, “I offer my deepest condolences to the family of the 14-year-old boy who passed away in the tragic incident at Icon Park. I look forward to learning more about what happened in the incident and what will be done to prevent it from ever happening again. A Florida Department of Agriculture and Orange County Sheriff’s Office investigation will provide clarity to the circumstances and next steps.”
THIS IS TYRE SAMPSON.— LuAnne Sorrell FOX 35 (@FOX35LuAnne) March 25, 2022
He is the 14-year-old who died after falling off of the “Orlando Free Fall” drop ride. #FOX35 News talks exclusively with his father at 5:00 and 6:00. #Orlando #Dropride pic.twitter.com/w1gdjnh9sG
John Stine, sales director with Slingshot Group, which owns the ride, said, according to CBS Miami, “We operate the ride with all the safety precautions in mind. That’s why we’re conducting an investigation.”
“What happened is absolutely heartbreaking and devastating, and we send our condolences to this young man’s family,” Stine stated in a separate statement to The Associated Press.
Free Fall at ICON Park -world’s tallest free-standing drop tower
The Free Fall ride at ICON Park is the world’s tallest free-standing drop tower, reaching about 75 mph. The 430-foot tall ride opened late last year. During the free fall, it rotates 30 passengers around the tower before tilting towards the ground and taking off.
This is Tyre Sampson who tragically lost his life. pic.twitter.com/64vtaa16wq— Stacy Miller (@Pinkmustang) March 25, 2022
During the ride, riders are restrained by over-the-shoulder harnesses with two handgrips at chest level. They pull-down, then they are released automatically when the ride is finished.
During a daily safety check on a separate ride, another worker at the same theme park fell to his death, in 2020.