14-year-old dies at ICON Park: (CNN) Authorities say a 14-year-old kid died after falling from a drop tower amusement ride at the ICON Park entertainment complex in the Orlando area on Thursday night.
Tyre Sampson, 14, of St. Louis, Missouri, was killed when he fell from the Orlando FreeFall ride, which is advertised as the world’s largest freestanding drop tower by its operators, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
A person falls from their seat around five seconds into the ride’s descent down the tower, as the vehicle decelerates before it hits the ground, according to a video circulating on social media that purports to capture the incident.
Around 11 p.m., deputies were dispatched to ICON Park. According to the sheriff’s office, Sampson was transferred to a hospital and died as a result of his injuries. The cause of the collapse was not immediately disclosed.
Sheriff’s detectives will assess if the occurrence was accidental or deliberate, and “it appears to be a tragic tragedy,” according to Orange County Sheriff John Mina.
14-year-old dies at ICON Park: I’m glad to know the truth about what happened
According to his father, Yarnell Sampson, Sampson was an honour roll student and ambitious football player. Tyre was in Orlando for spring break with his football team, according to his father.
His eldest son “was a wonderful young man. Tyre was a “kindhearted boy,” according to the elder Sampson, who described him as “a gigantic teddy bear, a gentle giant.” “who would give the shirt off his back to a stranger in need.
Sampson told CNN that he saw the video of his son’s death on Facebook while fighting back tears.
“I couldn’t believe it when I saw the video of my son falling (it). My life came to a halt “Sampson remarked.
He continued, “I’d like to know the truth about what happened. You know what happened, you know why a 14-year-old young man with a promising future was taken from us.”
Passengers were shackled to their seats for the approximately 400-foot plummet.
The FreeFall is a 430-foot-tall tower and ride that includes a vehicle that circles the tower and transports up to 30 people to the top. The vehicle would “bend forward 30 degrees and face the ground before free falling over 400 feet at speeds exceeding 75 mph,” according to ICON Park’s website. According to the firm, the attraction first launched around Christmas last year.
According to a safety inspection report acquired by CNN, the attraction passed a safety inspection in December before it was authorised to open.
The Drop Tower passed inspection on December 20, 2021, according to a document from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). The report made no mention of any flaws.
FDACS planned to check the ride again in June, in the middle of the permit year, according to the department.
The owner/operator is also responsible for inspecting the amusement ride each day of operation, according to FDACS.
An spokesperson with the business that operates the ride told CNN affiliate Spectrum News 13 that the youngster was fastened in the ride’s seat.
“Yes, indeed (he was secured in the seat). That’s all we know right now. So, once again, we operate the ride with all of the necessary safety procedures in place, and this is why we’re conducting an investigation “According to Spectrum News 13, John Stine, sales and marketing director for the Slingshot Group, which manages the ride and two others at the park,
Slingshot Group’s sales and marketing director, John Stine, told CNN that the organisation is devastated by Sampson’s loss.
“What happened to this young visitor of ours has left us devastated,” Stine told CNN on Friday.
The ride has been closed until further notice as the incident is investigated, and the company has stated that it is cooperating fully with the sheriff’s office and officials.
“Right now, getting the rollercoaster running is the last thing on our minds,” Stine added. “We want to know what happened to this young man, and we value safety above everything else, both for our guests and for our personnel.”
The drop tower ride, according to Stine, has never been a problem. “We’ve been up and running for about three months. And it’s done exceptionally well. And this is what perplexes me the most “he stated
“A tragedy occurred last night during the Orlando FreeFall, and our hearts are heavy with pain,” ICON Park said in a statement.
The statement states, “The proprietor of the attraction is completely collaborating with authorities, and ICON Park is doing everything we can to assist.”
An investigation is underway by a state agency.
Mina said the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will look into the ride’s safety concerns. Except for those at large parks with more than 1,000 employees and full-time inspectors on duty, the agency has statewide responsibility for inspecting all amusement rides in Florida.
Department spokesperson Caroline Stonecipher told CNN that inspectors will be visiting the scene on Friday “with our inquiry underway.”
According to Mina, the sheriff’s office has not received any previous complaints regarding the ride. However, he emphasised that any such complaints will be investigated by the state agriculture department.
CNN has reached out to the Agriculture and Consumer Services Department for more information, as well as inspection documents for the FreeFall ride.
What the video demonstrates
The incident is purportedly captured on film from the ground, right outside the attraction’s gate. Riders sit in their seats with a harness over their shoulders and chest before the ride begins, as shown in the video.
After a while, the car begins to ascend. The drop begins about two and a half minutes later.
As the vehicle decelerates, a person falls from one of the seats about five seconds into the drop — perhaps two-thirds down the tower.
People scream, as the camera pans to reveal a body on the tower’s brick floor.
“Immediately summon an ambulance! He had only recently fallen “Someone screams. Riders beg staff to let them off as the ride descends to ground level.
A worker approaches and inquires if the ride attendants are certain they checked the rider. They claim to have done so.
Stine was interviewed by Spectrum News 13 about the harness.
“Our safety harness, which goes over the rider’s chest, is enough, and we’ll obviously look into it further. We’ll work with all of the authorities, and that’s all we can say right now “According to Spectrum News 13, Stine stated.
ICON Park features a 400-foot-tall observation wheel, Madame Tussauds Orlando, and the SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium, among other attractions.