Florida Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried aims to improve amusement park safety following Icon Park death

click to enlarge Florida Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried aims to improve amusement park safety following Icon Park death
Icon Park/Instagram

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Wednesday released a legislative “framework” that she said would improve safety for amusement rides, after a Missouri teen died in a fall out of a tower-style ride in Orlando.

Tyre Sampson, 14, fell from a 430-foot tower-drop ride on March 24 at Orlando’s ICON Park. The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services regulates such amusement rides.

“When accidents occur, often it’s because many small issues happen at the same time to create a perfect storm. Our goal here was to identify the issues that caused that perfect storm in Tyre’s case and work to prevent them from occurring again,” Fried said in a statement.

Among Fried’s proposed legislative changes are more-stringent reporting requirements for documenting ride maintenance and creating a minimum standard within the agriculture department for training ride operators. Fried also is proposing to add a requirement to prevent devices such as safety sensors from being adjusted.

A report released by the department in April said the Missouri teen’s death came after manual adjustments were made to sensors on two of the ride’s seats. The modification was made to allow the seats’ safety harnesses to remain open wider than the manufacturer intended, an investigation revealed. A probe is ongoing.

“I think it’s important that we address this matter legislatively as soon as possible. It’s a horrible tragedy. I also think we should name this bill in honor of Tyre Sampson, to honor his memory, but also so we have a reminder that this should never happen again,” Sen. Randolph Bracy, D-Ocoee, said in a statement Wednesday.

Scroll to read more Orlando Area News articles
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Orlando Weekly Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.