NewsFlorida News


14-year-old dies after fall from Florida amusement park ride

Orange County Sheriff: Appears to be a "terrible tragedy"
Teen dies on ride in Orlando
Posted at 6:11 AM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 23:31:52-04

ORLANDO, Fla. — A 14-year-old died in Orlando on Thursday night after he fell from an amusement park ride, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities said the teenager, identified as Tyre Sampson, fell from the "Free Fall" ride at ICON Park, an entertainment complex on International Drive. The fall happened shortly after 11 p.m.

Sheriff John Mina said Friday that Tyre Sampson was from Missouri and was visiting Florida with a friend's family. According to ABC News affiliate WFTV, the ride opened on January 5.

The sheriff's office said the teenager was taken to a local hospital after the fall, where he died from his injuries. The investigation is in its early stages, authorities said and no other details have been released.

Mina said the role of the sheriff's office is to determine if the death was accidental or not. At this time, he believes it was a "terrible tragedy."

“We’re looking into all those things. Whether it was a slip, whether he was conscious or not and that’s all part of the investigation and will determine for sure if it was accidental, that we believe at this point,” Mina said.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will be tasked with investigating the ride and what could have led to the fall.

A FDACS spokesperson said the agency conducted an initial inspection of the Drop Tower and no deficiencies were noted at the initial permit inspection. The ride will be closed for the foreseeable future and will not re-open until all questions are answered as part of the ongoing FDACS investigation.

You can click here to find out how the department investigates ride inspections.

Mina said authorities have spoken with all available witnesses and employees at this time. He added that the sheriff's office has flagged a video circulating the internet showing the fall itself and said it, "shouldn't be out in the public."

ICON Park fatal fall CNN Newsource.png

Mina was asked about seatbelts or restraints on the ride and said there is a "large locking device" that goes over the rider's shoulder.

Mina said his prayers and thoughts are with the family of Samson.

"Free Fall" stands 430 feet tall and is the world's tallest free-standing drop tower, according to a press release from ICON Park. According to the park, riders fall nearly 400 feet and drops reach speeds of around 75 miles an hour.

The Orlando FreeFall is owned and operated by The Slingshot Group. They are working with the FDACS for a full investigation.

“Our hearts go out to the family of this young man,” said John Stine, a spokesperson for the ride. “Our hearts are broken today.”

Since 2018, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is aware of 14 deaths associated with amusement attractions.

ICON Park fatal fall CNN Newsource3.png

Story developing, refresh for updates. Stay with ABC Action News for the latest.