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Family of Tyre Sampson files wrongful death suit, naming three entities responsible for his death after falling from drop tower ride at ICON Park

As expected, the family of a teen who fell to his death at an Orlando amusement park in March has filed suit in Orange County, Florida.

Orange County Clerk of Courts | LinkedIn

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According to ClickOrlando, attorney Michael Haggard, who represents Tyre Sampson‘s mother, Nekia Dodd, formally filed a lawsuit against the ride‘s operators in Orange County Court this morning. Monday. The suit was filed in civil court.

Sampson, age 14, died on Thursday night, March 24, after falling from the Orlando FreeFall drop tower attraction at Orlando’s ICON Park on International Drive.

Investigation Into 14-Year-Old's Death at Florida's Icon Park Focuses on Safety Harness - WSJ

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The lawsuit filed on Monday morning in Orange County names three entities at fault in the death of Tyre Sampson: Funtime Thrill Rides, which manufactured the Orlando FreeFall drop tower ride, Slingshot Group, which is the owner and operator in Florida, and ICON Park, which is the company who leased the space for the drop tower ride.

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The suit filed alleges that operators of the drop tower ride should have known that those riding the attraction could be “subject to unreasonably dangerous and foreseeable risks and that serious injury and death of the occupants in the ride could result.”

The suit also notes that the Orlando FreeFall ride had no seatbelts and that the total cost to outfit all of the seats on the ride with seatbelts would be only $600.

According to the lawsuit filed, the manufacturer, FunTime Thrill Rides, and the operator, Slingshot Group, should have made sure of the following:

  • There were visible warnings for riders about height and weight restrictions
  • The ride should not have been able to function if all riders were not properly secured
  • No one should have been able to manipulate or adjust proximity sensors
  • A monitoring system should have been installed to make sure all rider restraints were properly secured
  • A mechanism should have been installed to stop the ride if a restraint was not properly secured
  • The lawsuit also states that the Orlando FreeFall drop tower ride could have been manufactured with safer alternative designs that would have yielded a reduced risk of riders coming out of their seats.

During a press conference last week led by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and its Commissioner Nikki Fried, a report from Quest Engineering, the forensics entity hired by the Department to assist in the investigation, was shared, which detailed findings about what led to Tyre Sampson falling from his seat and ultimately losing his life after riding the Orlando FreeFall drop tower ride.

According to the report, the ride operator at ICON Park made “manual adjustments” to two of the seats at the drop tower ride that rendered the attraction unsafe for riders.

orlando freefall drop tower ride

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Following the press conference, attorneys for Tyre Sampson‘s family said they would likely be taking legal action. Over the weekend, attorneys announced they’d be filing a wrongful death suit in Orange County civil court today.

At this time, no information about the amount of damages sought has been made public.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!