A 14-year-old boy from Missouri and visiting Orlando on vacation died when riding a thrill ride at an Orlando amusement park. The fall occurred late on Thursday. The ride was 430 feet tall and located at Icon Park, which is in a tourist hotspot along International Dr.
The ride the boy fell from was the Orlando Free Fall which opened late last year. It is billed as the world’s tallest free-standing drop tower. It’s just 11 feet shorter than Orlando’s tallest building, the SunTrust Building.
The teen was identified as Tyre Sampson. He was visiting Florida with a friend’s family. Detectives are currently investigating the death to determine if it was accidental or intentional.
“It appears to be just a terrible tragedy,” said Orange County Sheriff John Mina. “We will see moving forward what that results in.”
Sampson was taken to the hospital after the fall where he died of his injuries.
Video of the deadly fall was posted on social media on Friday and has been circulating heavily ever since.
A video of the incident that aired on NBC’s Today show shows passengers on the ride discussing an issue with a seat restraint. The ride begins its trek up the tower after the discussion takes place and later shows the boy falling.
However, according to John Stine, the sales director with the Slingshot Group (the company that owns the ride), the boy was secured in his seat. The ride, which rotates in the air and tilts to face the ground before free falling at over 75 mph, has over-shoulder restraint harnesses and two hand grips at chest level.
Stine also released the following statement. “We are absolutely saddened and devastated by what happened, and our hearts go out to this young man’s family.
The Free Fall ride and an adjacent ride, Sling Shot, have been closed indefinitely and are being investigated to determine what happened.
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The boy’s family will be taking the case to court. They will be represented by attorneys Ben Crump and Bob Hillard. According to Crump, Sampson was “an honor roll student, an aspiring athlete and a kindhearted person who cares about others.”
There have been no previous incidents with the Free Fall ride in the past. However, a 21-year-old worker fell to his death in the same theme park while conducting a daily safety check on a different ride.