ICON Park formally notified the owner of the Orlando FreeFall, the SlingShot Group, demanding suspension not only of the operation of Orlando FreeFall but also the operation of Orlando SlingShot, effective immediately, until the attractions are proven to be safe by authorities, the company said in a released statement on Monday evening.
This comes on the heels of the tragedy at ICON Park in Orlando on International Drive, where 14-year-old Tyre Sampson was released from his seat while riding the world’s tallest freestanding drop tower, the Orlando Free Fall.
While the investigation is ongoing, the state released key records that the maximum weight to ride the Orlando FreeFall was 287 pounds. WESH reports that an attorney for the family told them the boy was “well over 300 pounds,” and according to the manual should not have been allowed to ride.
On Monday, ICON Park shared that it is continuing to fully cooperate with investigations and believes it is in the best interest of public safety that the SlingShot Group suspend not only the operation of Orlando FreeFall but also Orlando SlingShot.
“As the landlord of the 20-acre entertainment destination in the center of the Orlando Entertainment District, ICON Park’s mission is to provide safe, family entertainment. We rely on our tenants to be experts at what they do. In the interests of public safety, ICON Park demands that the SlingShot Group suspend not only the operation of Orlando FreeFall but also the operation of Orlando SlingShot, effective immediately, continuing until such time as a thorough investigation by the appropriate authorities has been completed and all parties are satisfied that the rides are safe for the public.
We continue to fully cooperate with the ongoing investigations of the Orlando FreeFall.
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.”
The tragedy has caused many theme parks and fans to take another a look at rider safety.
A sister ride called “Drop Line,” made by Funtime Rides was recently closed indefinitely by Dollywood, located in Tennessee. The ride has metal shoulder restraints that look different from the Orlando FreeFall and, unlike the Orlando ride, which tilts forward at the top before descending, the Dollywood ride keeps riders upright.
The statement from Dollywood can be read below:
We were deeply saddened to hear of the heartbreaking accident at ICON Park in Orlando, Florida. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this unimaginably difficult time.
Although Dollywood does not have the specific ride involved in this tragic incident, the safety of our Guests is our top priority. Out of an abundance of caution, and until further details about the accident at ICON Park are known, we have temporarily closed Drop Line, our drop tower ride that was developed by the same manufacturer.
Inside the Magic will continue to keep you updated on this investigation as it unfolds.