Amusement park ride harness was still locked after teen's death, Florida report says

March 29 (UPI) -- The seat of a teen who fell out of a theme ride park to his death was still locked into place after the ride stopped, Florida investigators said in a report released Tuesday.

Tyre Sampson, 14, of St. Louis died Thursday after plummeting from the Free Fall ride at ICON Park in Orlando. The 430-foot-tall tower ride raises riders up into the air, before dropping them at speeds of up to 75 mph. Magnets slow the ride dozens of feet from the bottom before bringing it to a stop.


It was during this slow-down that Tyre Sampson "came out" of his seat and fell from the ride, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in an accident report.

"Harness was still in a down and locked position when the ride stopped," the report said.

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Tyre Sampson's family questioned whether he was too large for the ride. Yarnell Sampson, the teen's father, said he was 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 340 pounds.

"So, he's a big guy," he told CNN.

WEST-TV in Orlando reported that the ride's manual lists a maximum passenger weight of 287 pounds. The news outlet said the ride's ticket window only mentions a minimum height of 50 inches, nothing regarding weight restrictions.


Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried said her office was investigating Tyre Sampson's death alongside the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

"We hope the subsequent findings will be able to inform us all as to how this tragedy occurred and will precipitate any changes necessary to better protect patrons of amusement rides in Florida," she said.

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