Orlando FreeFall to be taken down following death of Missouri teen

click to enlarge Orlando FreeFall to be taken down following death of Missouri teen
Icon Park/Instagram

Months after the death of Missouri teen Tyre Sampson on Icon Park's Orlando FreeFall ride, the operator has decided to shut the ride down permanently. Orlando Slingshot Group announced that the ride would be taken down in a press release on October 6.

“We are devastated by Tyre’s death. We have listened to the wishes of Tyre’s family and the community, and have made the decision to take down the FreeFall,” said Ritchie Armstrong, with Orlando Slingshot in a press release. “In addition, Orlando Slingshot will honor Tyre and his legacy in the classroom and on the football field by creating a scholarship in his name.”

Sampson fell from the ride this spring, while the drop tower was plunging riders toward the ground. His restraints failed to keep him in his seat and he was thrown from the ride, ultimately falling to his death in a gruesome incident that was captured on video.

 The death and the widely shared video of the incident, led to shut downs, protests, investigations and lawsuits. Sampson was much larger than the suggested limits on height and weight found in the manufacturer's manual for the ride. Investigations into the ride found that operators manually adjusted the restraints to allow the 6' 5 teen to ride.

Icon Park backed the decision to close the ride while keeping their carefully maintained distance as a landlord to independent ride operators.

"Tyre’s death is a tragedy that we will never forget. As the landlord, ICON Park welcomes and appreciates Orlando Slingshot’s decision to take down the ride,” they said.
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