New details have been released about the investigation into the death of Tyre Sampson, the 14-year-old boy who fell from an amusement park ride at Orlando’s ICON Park last week.
Tyre was visiting ICON Park on Thursday when he boarded the Orlando FreeFall ride, a 430-foot drop tower, around 11 p.m.
When the ride’s “magnets engaged” upon descent, Sampson “came out” of his seat, according to an accident report released Monday by the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The report went on to note that Sampson’s “harness was still in a down and locked position when the ride stopped.”
The teen died from “multiple injuries and trauma,” the report stated.
“Words cannot express the sorrow felt by the tragic loss of such a young man, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this unimaginably difficult time,” Commissioner Nikki Fried said in a statement.
“The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is actively investigating the incident, along with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office,” Fried added. “We hope the subsequent findings will be able to inform us all as to how this tragedy occurred and will precipitate any changes necessary to better protect patrons of amusement rides in Florida.”
Although additional details about the incident remain the subject of an ongoing investigation, the boy’s family has raised concerns that he may have been too large to safely ride on the attraction.
Sampson’s father, Yarnell Sampson, told CNN on Friday that his son was 340 lbs.
According to the ride’s safety manual, the maximum passenger weight is 130 kg, which is roughly 287 lbs. “Be careful when seeing if large guests fit into the seats,” the manual states. “Check that they fit within the contours of the seat and the bracket fits properly. If this is not so – do not let this person ride.”
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said on Friday that they will be “looking into” a number of factors, but that based on preliminary evidence, “it appears to be a terrible tragedy.”
During that press conference, police also stressed that “absolutely no criminal charges” had been filed.
The ride, which opened in late December, passed its initial permit inspection with “no deficiencies,” FDACS said in a media release. The ride will remain “closed for the foreseeable future and will not re-open until all questions are answered as part of the ongoing FDACS investigation.”
Tragically, Tyre’s father said he only learned of his son’s death after coming across a video of the fall circulating on social media.
“It felt like somebody hit me so hard in my stomach,” Yarnell told NBC station WESH. “And it’s just sad, a young man’s bright future was taken away from him over a ride, an amusement park.”
In a statement posted to their website, ICON Park said they are continuing to “fully cooperate” with authorities.
“As the landlord of the 20-acre entertainment destination in the center of the Orlando Entertainment District, ICON Park’s mission is to provide safe, family entertainment,” they wrote in a statement, noting that they had suspended operations of both Orlando FreeFall and Orlando SlingShot, which are owned by the SlingShot Group.
“We continue to grieve the passing of Tyre Sampson and our thoughts are with his family and friends,” the park wrote. “This was the saddest day in the history of ICON Park and we’re working hard to make sure this never happens again.”
In a previous statement, the SlingShot Group said they were “heartbroken” over Sampson’s death.
If his harness was down and locked — how did he come out of it?