Boy, 14, who fell from 430ft ride was 96lbs over weight limit
Boy, 14, who fell to his death from 430ft ride at Florida ICON park was 96lbs over weight limit and suffered horrific internal trauma to his head, neck and torso
- Tyre Sampson, 14, of Missouri, was found to be 96lbs over the weight limit for the FreeFall ride at Florida ICON park, according to the autopsy report
- The 430-foot ride’s weight limit capped out at 287lbs, while the teen weighed 383lbs
- The medical examiner also found that the teen suffered from internal injuries to his head, neck, and torso
- His death was ultimately ruled an accident by the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office
- Sampson’s family is suing Orlando Slingshot – the ride’s owner – manufacturer and landlord, saying they were negligent and failed to provide a safe ride
- The sensors on Sampson’s seat were reportedly manually altered to fit his size, resulting in him not being properly secured
- His friends also said the teen had been turned from rides due to his weight
The 14-year-old boy who feel to his death from a 430-foot ride at Florida’s ICON park was 96 pounds over the weight limit and suffered horrific internal trauma.
Tyre Sampson, of Missouri, was found to be almost 100 pounds over the ride’s 287 pound weight limit, according to the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office, which ruled his death an accident.
Sampson’s friends had previously said the teen had been turned away from other rides for his 383 pound size. Ride operators also reportedly adjusted his seat prior to the ride started to allow him to fit, authorities determined.
Sampson was in Orlando with a friend’s family for vacation and his size has been examined as a potential factor.
An initial report by outside engineers hired by the Florida Department of Agriculture said sensors on the ride had been adjusted manually to double the size of the opening for restraints on two seats, resulting in Sampson not being properly secured.
Tyre Sampson, 14, of Missouri, (pictured) was found to be 96 pounds over the weight limit for the FreeFall ride. The 430-foot tower capped out at 287 pounds
His death was ruled an accident by the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office
Sampson’s parents have sued the ride’s owner, manufacturer and landlord, saying they were negligent and failed to provide a safe amusement ride. The lawsuit said the defendants failed to warn Sampson about the risks of someone of his size going on the ride and that they did not provide an appropriate restraint system.
A harrowing 911 call was revealed in March. A frantic woman on the phone told emergency services that they ‘didn’t secure the seatbelt on him.’
‘They’re saying he’s breathing, but he’s not responsive. Looks like his arms are broken and his legs,’ the person said.
When asked by the 911 operator how far up the teen was when he fell, the woman replied: ‘I’m not sure, but it’s the new [ride], that’s all the way high – the highest one. I don’t know from where he fell.’
The 911 caller graphically described Tyre’s injuries, including that he had ‘blood on his feet’ and saying he was unresponsive but possibly still alive.
She also informed the 911 operator that no one was able to perform CPR on Sampson because they were unable to shift him to his back.
‘No, no, he’s a heavy dude. He’s on his stomach,’ the woman said.
Sampson, who was known at Big Tick to his friends and was a rising middle school football player, appeared to come out of the seat just as magnets activated to slow the ride down on its descent.
In the viral video that circulated after his death, a ride operator could be hear asking another if they had ‘checked’ the seatbelt.
Sampson was seen falling from the ride in March after his seatbelt wasn’t properly secured
The teen’s seat sensors had to be manually altered to be able to fit Sampson and video from the event appears to show the teen’s harness being loose
Inspectors from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services examine the FreeFall ride after Sampson’s death
‘Yeah, the light was one,’ one of the ride operators said in the video.
‘We both…we checked it. The light was on,’ a third worker said.
According to the ride’s operating manual, attendants also must manually check the restraints when loading a guest in, pulling on it to ensure it’s locked in.
The ride will also not ascend unless riders are locked into their seats.
The operator’s manual also suggest for workers to be ‘careful’ and to make sure that ‘large guests fit into the seats.’
‘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 manual explicitly states.
Tyre’s father, Yarnell, said that his 6-foot-five son had been told by other rides in the park that he was too large to ride safely, but that the FreeFall ride operators waved him aboard.
Sampson had been worried about the harness prior to the ride beginning, his father said, and told his friends sitting next to him to tell his parents that he loved them.
The football player’s family is now suing the ride owner, the manufacture, and the landlord for negligence because they didn’t provide a ‘safe’ ride
‘When the ride took off, that’s when he was feeling uncomfortable. He was like ‘this thing is moving,’ you know what I’m saying. And he was like ‘what’s going on?’ Yarnell told WOFL-TV.
The grieving father said that Tyre began to panic and shared a chilling premonition with his two best friends, seated next to him on the ride.
‘That’s when he started freaking out. And he was explaining to his friends, next to him: “I don’t know man, if I don’t make it down, safely, can you please tell my momma and daddy that I love them,”‘ said Sampson. ‘For him to say something like that, he must have felt something.’
‘This particular ride decided: “Yeah, we can take you, get on,” when nobody else would allow him to get on the rides,’ he added.
An attorney for the ride’s owner, Orlando Slingshot, has said the company is still cooperating with state investigators into what happened.
‘We continue to communicate and cooperate with representatives of Tyre’s family, as well as the Department of Agriculture. We are devoted to working with our lawmakers in making lasting safety changes in the amusement park industry,’ Trevor Arnold, Orlando Slingshot’s attorney, said in a statement.
‘The loss of Tyre Sampson was a tragic accident.’
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