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Credit: The Orlando Sentinel

Attorneys, parents of Tyre Sampson say his death at drop tower ride is being swept “under the rug”

The father of the 14-year-old who died after falling hundreds of feet from the Orlando FreeFall drop tower attraction in March says the young boy’s death is being swept “under the rug.”

Orlando Slingshot, FreeFall to debut Tuesday at ICON Park

Credit: My News 13

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Yarnell Sampson, the father of 14-year-old Tyre Sampson, visited the Orlando FreeFall ride at ICON Park just before Father’s Day.

“I came up here to get my peace,” he said.

But the mourning father was shocked to discover that the flowers, balloons, photographs, and messages that had formed a makeshift memorial at ICON Park had all been cleared away. Nothing remained of the memories of his son.

tyre sampson

Credit: CBS News

“I just wanted to know, did the people know that a young man actually died right here?” he said. “It blew my mind that eight out of 10 I asked didn’t know. They had no clue.”

Earlier this week, Yarnell Sampson and members of his family renewed their demand for the FreeFall attraction to be torn down at ICON Park, alongside civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, State Representative Geraldine Thompson, and local activists.

In April, members of Tyre Sampson’s family files suit against the ride’s owner, SlingShot Group, its landlord ICON Park, and the ride’s manufacturers and installers, alleging negligence on their part.

“These companies cannot be allowed to get away with this,” attorney Benjamin Crump said. “To Slingshot Group, to ICON Park, executives, you all cannot simply sweep this under the rug as if Tyre Sampson’s death doesn’t matter.”

Credit: The Orlando Sentinel

According to State Representative Geraldine Thompson, the “Tyre Sampson Bill” is to be filed on the first day of the state’s next legislative session, which will be on March 7, 2023. Accorrding to Thompson, the bill will look at the “safety record” of any company that wants to operate an attraction similar to the FreeFall tower.

But regardless of Sampson’s death in March at the Orlando FreeFall drop tower ride, Thompson said that the Slingshot Group currently has a lease with ICON Park to host a second ride, a move that Thompson says shows the entity is “tone-deaf.”

Credit: The Orlando Sentinel

“They want to open a second ride as if Tyre Sampson’s life was inconsequential,” she said. “They are acting as if they are tone-deaf by saying they are going to open a second ride. There will be no second ride for the Slingshot Group.”

But Trevor Arnold, attorney for the Orlando Slingshot, said in a statement that the company supports “the concepts outlined” in Geraldine Thompson’s proposed bill, and that they are not planning to open a new ride at ICON Park. Rather, he says, hopes to reopen the same ride where Tyre Sampson fell to his death–the Orlando FreeFall–as soon as they receive approval to do so from the state of Florida.

Arnold also said in the statement that the Slingshot company is working to return pieces from the makeshift memorial to Tyre Sampson at ICON Park to his family.

About Becky Burkett

I'm an enthusiastic writer who finds joy in random things like cold weather, snow, "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," journals full of blank paper, countdowns to Christmas, the month of December, "Toy Story," "Sleeping Beauty," my 4 kids, my 4 shih tsus, Disney Parks history, Imagineering and visiting the parks. I think Walt Disney is the standard against which genius should be measured. I love to write about Disney Parks, Disney history, all things Imagineering and PIXAR. I adore the colors, story and art direction of Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (Team Make it Blue!), and "Toy Story" is life (minus "Toy Story 4"). I believe Walt Disney was so much more than an entertainment and theme park tycoon; I believe he was a savant with a vision for life and how it could be if happiness and kindness are strived for. I love Biergarten at EPCOT and 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian. You can find me croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room, chillin' on the PeopleMover or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. I'm always looking for Imagineers in the parks, and I'd rather meet Joe Rohde and Tony Baxter than anyone in Hollywood! Hey, if you dream it, you really can do it!