A final report following the investigation as to what happened that caused a 14-year-old boy to fall from the Free Fall ride at ICON Park in Orlando, Florida has been released.
As Mamas Uncut previously reported, on March 24 tragedy struck at an Orlando amusement park when a 14-year-old boy died after he fell off of the thrill ride. At the time, it was believed that 14-year-old Tyre Sampson’s harness seemingly malfunctioned and he plummeted to his death.
A Manual Adjustment Made By a Crew Member Resulted in a 14-Year-Old’s Amusement Park Death
Now, in a press conference made on April 18, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried revealed that a change was made to Tyre’s harness that resulted in it becoming unsafe. “The report confirms manual adjustments had been made to the sensor for the seat in question to allow the harness restraint opening to be almost double that of the normal restraint opening range.
”These mis-adjustments allowed the safety lights to illuminate, improperly satisfying the ride’s electronic safety mechanisms, which allowed the ride to operate, even though Mr. Sampson was not properly secured in the seat,” Fried explained. “As noted in the report, there are many other potential contributing factors that may have played a role in the incident, and that is what our department is continuing to investigate.”
According to initial reports, the tragic incident occurred around 11 p.m. Tyre was rushed to Arnold Palmer Hospital where he passed away as a result of his injuries.
According to WESH, Free Fall is the world’s tallest free-standing drop tower, taking its passengers about 430-feet into the air. The ICON Park ride reaches about 75 miles per hour as it drops back to Earth.
In a statement issued by ICON Park following the release of the investigation’s findings, the park told People that they “are deeply troubled that the preliminary findings of the State’s investigation indicate a sensor on the Orlando FreeFall attraction, which is owned and operated by the SlingShot Group, had been mis-adjusted after the sensor was originally secured in place.”
“ICON Park is committed to providing a safe, fun experience for families. We will continue to support the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services with their ongoing investigation.”
While speaking with Fox 35, Tyre’s father, Yarnell Sampson said Tyre was visiting Orlando through a football program. Yarnell explained that Tyre was on the Free Fall ride with two of his best friends.
The father admitted that his son had a bad feeling about the ride when he first got on it. “He was panicking when he was going up.”
“When the ride took off, that’s when he was feeling uncomfortable. He was like, ‘What’s going on?’ That’s when he started freaking out, and he was explaining to his friend next to him, ‘I don’t know man. If I don’t make it down, please tell my Mom and Daddy I love them.’ For him to say something like that, he must have felt something.”
As Yarnell explained to Fox 35, his son was a big boy. He measured 6-feet, 5-inches tall, and weighed 340 pounds. Many rides wouldn’t even let him on the rides.
“This one particular ride said, ‘We can take you, come on! Get on!’ No one else allowed him to get on the ride, so I’m wondering what happened between now and then that made them say, ‘Come on, get this ride,’” Yarnell continued.
As Fried also revealed at the press conference, Yarnell was too heavy for the ride, revealing that the maximum weight per rider was listed by the manufacturer as 250-pounds.
Now Yarnell says he’s going to do whatever he can to make sure nothing like this ever happens again. “This should never happen to anyone else’s child ever again, and if I have anything to do with this, it will not happen ever again.”
Yarnell admitted Tyre loved football and was good at it too. Tyre had dreams of playing in the NFL.
Tyre’s mother, Nokia Dodd, created a GoFundMe to raise money for his funeral. “No Mother wants to get the call that I received that night and find out that my son died in such a horrific way,” she wrote on the fundraiser.
“There is no money or compensation that will make up for my son’s death; I am raising funds for any extra funeral expenses, food, therapy, clothing, anything that helps my situation.”
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