Friday’s identification of the teen was Tyre Sampson. He was visiting central Florida with a friend from Missouri. According to Orange County Sheriff John Mina, detectives will investigate the cause of death and determine if it was accidental or intentional.
Mina stated, “It seems to be just tragedy.” “We will watch what the results are moving forward.”
Sampson was taken into a hospital where he later died, sheriff’s officers said. The incident and additional details regarding Sampson were not immediately available.
Witness to the incident told 911 dispatcher Sampson appeared to fall out of his chair when the ride braked at the bottom.
The man on the 911 call said, “Bam! He went straight through his chair. And dropped!” It was the most shocking thing I have ever heard. He was thrown to the ground.
One woman called 911 to report that Sampson was lying facedown and not responding. He also appeared to have broken his legs and arms. A second man said that the teen didn’t have a pulse and was lying face down.
A Friday morning video aired on NBC’s “Today”, appears to show passengers discussing their issues with a seat belt Thursday night. The ride began its climb up the tower, with someone later being seen falling from it.
John Stine, the sales director at the Slingshot group, said that the incident left him “absolutely saddened” and that he was devastated for the family.
Stine stated that the Free Fall ride and the adjacent ride, Sling Shot, were closed indefinitely. The two rides are operated by his company at Icon Park.
Stine stated that they are working with all other investigations to determine the truth.
Stine stated that there have been no problems reported with the Free Fall ride since it opened in December.
Detectives interviewed witnesses and employees, and they reported no problems.
Mina stated, “Everything seemed to have gone as planned.”
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services oversees inspections of amusement rides, with the exception of state-owned theme parks. A spokesperson Caroline Stoneciper stated in an email that inspectors were present at the site on Friday.
A report from the state agency states that the initial permit inspection for the ride was conducted on December 20, 2021. No problems were found. The ride’s next semi-annual inspection was not due until several months later.
The report stated that the ride would be shut down for the foreseeable future, and it would not reopen until all questions have been answered by FDACS investigators.
There are two hand grips at chest level that hold the riders down. The restraint harnesses can be pulled down by the riders and released at the end. As another inspector measured, an inspector could be seen in a ride-seat with the security harness on his shoulders.
According to the park’s website, the ride is 430 feet tall (131 meters) high.
According to the website, the ride can hold 30 passengers and rotates around the tower before tilting to face the ground. The ride then free falls at speeds of more than 75 mph (120 km/h).
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