Florida Free-Fall Ride Deemed ‘Danger To Public Health' By Officials After Death

The 430-foot Orlando FreeFall ride was ordered closed shortly after 14-year-old Tyre Sampson fell to his death on March 24.
The towering Orlando FreeFall ride is seen at Icon Park in Orlando, Florida.
The towering Orlando FreeFall ride is seen at Icon Park in Orlando, Florida.
via Associated Press

A Florida free-fall ride where a 14-year-old boy fell to his death last month was declared “an immediate serious danger to public health, safety, and welfare” in an order shutting it down.

The order from the state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), which was publicly released Monday, ordered the Orlando FreeFall at Icon Park in Orlando to close one day after Tyre Sampson died on March 24.

The teenager fell out of his harness as the towering 430-foot ride, which is higher than the Statue of Liberty, was rapidly descending to the ground.

Video taken at the scene reportedly captured one of the passengers expressing concern about a seat belt not being properly fastened moments before the ride took off. Ride safety experts who have reviewed footage of the incident have said that a harness placed over Tyre did appear locked in place but that it wasn’t pulled down low enough to secure him.

The FDACS has been investigating how the incident occurred and what changes can be made to prevent a similar incident from happening again.

Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Tyre’s father, visited the ride on Tuesday and called the teen’s death completely preventable.

“Other than George Floyd’s tragic torture video, I think this is the worst tragedy captured on video that I have ever seen,” he told reporters at the scene.

There have been questions about the ride’s safety protocols, particularly whether a weight restriction was clearly posted as required by state law.

Tyre, who was visiting Orlando from Missouri with his football team, weighed 330 pounds, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The ride, however, has a recommended maximum weight of 287 pounds, according to a ride manual released by the FDACS.

Attorney Michael Haggard, who is also representing the Sampson family, said he was unable to find this weight limit posted at the ride.

“The last chance to stop this was, just have a weight requirement and to enforce it,” Haggard said, according to WESH-TV news. “They have a height limit on there, a height restriction, but I didn’t see anywhere where they measure it ... And they have a weight restriction that’s not disclosed to anyone.”

An attorney for the ride’s owner, Orlando Eagle Drop Slingshot LLC., did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment Thursday.

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