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Accident report in teen's deadly Orlando thrill ride fall says seat was in 'locked position'

New information released in the 14-year-old's tragic death shows he also exceeded weight and size restrictions.

ORLANDO, Fla. — The seat a 14-year-old fell to his death from while at Orlando's ICON Park was in "a down and locked" position, according to an accident report.

The report outlining the deadly March 24 accident was one of several documents released by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) as part of its investigation into the Orlando FreeFall's safety. 

Authorities say Tyre Sampson was visiting from Missouri with a friend's family when he fell from the ride. He would later die at the hospital from his injuries, according to authorities. 

According to the accident report, Sampson fell out of his seat when the magnets of the ride engaged. The FreeFall ride was also reported to be "coming down the tower" at the time of the accident.

"[The] harness was still in a down and locked position when the ride stopped," the report reads.

According to the lawyer representing Sampson's family, the teen stood 6-feet, 5-inches tall, and weighed more than 300 pounds.

In the thrill ride's Operations and Maintenance Manual — to which it must adhere — the "maximum passenger weight" and size restrictions are outlined as being 130kg which equates to roughly 287 pounds. 

The manual also states to "be careful when seeing if 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 Orlando FreeFall's last noted inspection occurred in December of 2021. Inspection reports show the ride met the qualifications required by Florida guidelines. The ride was visually inspected in a "non-destructive test."

The accident report also noted who was working at the time of Sampson's deadly fall. Training records show the employee had received training on operating procedures, specific duties, general safety procedures, emergency procedures, and all other listed training requirements. 

The employee's training was completed on February 21, 2022, for the FreeFall ride, according to the Fair Rides Employee Training Record.

“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,” Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried wrote in a statement.

FDACS is working alongside the sheriff's office to uncover how the tragedy occurred and "precipitate any changes necessary to better protect patrons of amusement rides in Florida."

The Orlando FreeFall ride opened in December 2021 at ICON Park. According to a news release, the thrill ride stands at 430 feet, "making it the world's tallest free-standing drop tower." 

The park says the ride holds 30 people. The ride rotates around the gigantic tower as it rises to the top. Once riders reach the top, the ride tilts forward 30 degrees and faces the ground for a "brief moment before free falling nearly 400 feet at speeds reaching over 75 mph."

The ride will remain closed as authorities continue to investigate. ICON Park is also "demanding" the SlingShot Group suspend operations of the Orlando FreeFall ride and Orlando SlingShot it operates at its park "effective immediately."

"We continue to grieve the passing of Tyre Sampson and our thoughts are with his family and friends. This was the saddest day in the history of ICON Park and we’re working hard to make sure this never happens again," ICON Park wrote in a recent statement.

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