On March 24, 14-year-old Tyre Sampson was on a trip with his football team when disaster struck. The teen and his best friends visited Orlando’s ICON park and were riding the new Free Fall ride when his harness malfunctioned.
Tyre fell to his death and the entire horrifying experience was caught on video by a fellow park-goer standing on the ground below. The witness, known as Ivan, shared the video on social media.
The Man Who Captured Deadly Florida Amusement Park Accident Explains Why He Shared the Horrifying Video
Ivan is now talking with WESH about why he decided to share the disturbing video with the public. Ivan admits he is still traumatized from witnessing the incident.
“When I heard that he was 14 years old, my heart sank,” Ivan said. “Literally, I’m heartbroken about it.” Ivan’s friends were also on the ride at the time of tragedy. He said they were sitting just two seats away from Tyre.
This could have been one of my friends that it happened to,” he said. “It’s not what you would expect from a ride in the heart of Orlando. We’re known for our amusement parks, for our thrill rides.”
What happened and how this could have happened is still under investigation. However, Ivan said there were “red flags” before the ride even began.
One of Ivan’s friends questioned the safety features of the ride as he sat on it. “Why doesn’t this have the little clicky click? The seatbelt,” the friend can be heard saying at the start of the video.
Apparently, while the ride had a safety harness, but not an additional buckle that clicked into place. “In most rides, you have your harness that pulls down on you. But you also have the additional secondary seatbelt. This does not have that. And it’s really concerning especially being a new ride not to have that.”
After the fall occurs, one worker begins to question another, asking, “Did you check him?” To which the other workers said they did.
As Ivan explained to WESH, “The reason why I posted the video is to highlight those safety concerns. I really hope that the company takes a step back and kind of assess the issues and really takes a second look at safety procedures.”
As Tyre’s father said in an interview with FOX 35, his son had dreams of playing in the NFL and was known as a gentle giant. As Yarnell explained, his son measured 6-feet, 5-inches tall, and weighed 340 pounds. Many rides wouldn’t even let him on the rides.
Yarnell said Tyre loved football and was good at it too. “Last season, they had a good football season. Went to nationals. Could have been a recruiting trip – wasn’t sure? It was something in that nature,” Yarnell said of his son. “He was a team player. He was the type of young man that’d take the shirt off his back and give it to you.”
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