On March 24, 14-year-old Tyre Sampson fell to his death from an Orlando free-fall ride at Florida’s ICON Park. Tyre’s death prompted an immediate investigation from multiple bureaus, and many wondered how such a terrible thing could happen. Over the past month and a half, we have learned that the seat was adjusted, so Tyre could fit onto the ride. The teenager was over 6 feet tall and weighed over 300 pounds, which exceeded the weight limit that each seat was allowed to have.
A new report from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office has now been released that is giving up a deeper look at what happened that fateful night. The Sheriff’s office released both its incident report, as well as 911 calls that were made that night. Those calls and reports revealed that Tyre was alive when he hit the ground, but was unresponsive. The report also reveals that no one rushed to aid Sampson, and the first people to try to help him were the police when they arrived on the scene.
Per an article from The Associated Press:
The father of a friend of Tyre Sampson who witnessed the March 24 accident told deputies that the teen appeared to fall out of his seat when plunging passengers on the Free Fall ride passed a yellow reflective tape halfway down the tower. The ride reaches speeds of 75 mph (120 kilometers), according to an Orange County Sheriff’s Office incident report released through a public records request.
The incident report said nobody touched Sampson on the ground until deputies arrived. According to 911 calls released Tuesday, dispatchers asked witnesses who had called in the accident if they could perform CPR on Sampson.
One man told the dispatcher that Sampson was face down, “and he’s about 300 pounds.” The dispatcher started asking him to have someone help him move Sampson onto his back, but then deputies arrived at the scene.
Last week, Tyre’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Funtime Thrill Rides, Slingshot Group, and ICON Park. Funtime Thrill Rides is the company that built the free-fall ride, while Slingshot Group is the owner of the ride. ICON Park is the company that leased the land for the drop ride. The family claims that the companies should have known that some people riding the attraction could have faced serious injury or death.
The wrongful death lawsuit came after investigations discovered that the seat Tyre was sitting in had been manually adjusted, so he could fit into it. The report said that the ride operator manually adjusted the seat and changed the safety sensors — that action made the ride unsafe. The gap between the seat and the harness in Tyre’s seat was more than twice as wide as the other seats. The widening made it possible for Tyre to slip through the harness and fall. The amusement park ride did not have a seatbelt to attach to the harness.
Some parts of the Orange County Sheriff’s report were redacted, as the incident is still being investigated. The portions of the report and the 911 calls that were released had been reviewed by the Sheriff’s office before becoming public.