More Than a Dozen Sued in Teen’s Death at Orlando Theme Park

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The Wheel at ICON Park


The family of a teen boy who tragically died while at an Orlando theme park has officially filed a lawsuit.

14-year-old Tyre Sampson tragically fell from his seat while riding the Orlando FreeFall at ICON Park last month.

Reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Sampson’s family has filed a lawsuit against more than a dozen defendants, including The SlingShot Group, ICON Park, ride manufacturers Funtime Handels GmbH and Gerstlauer Amusement Rides GmbH, and construction company Keator Construction.

icon park freefall and the wheel
Credit: ICON Park

The lawsuit alleges negligence on the part of several defendants. It also states that SlingShot Group manipulated safety sensors on a couple of the ride’s harnesses and did not post the attraction’s weight or height limits at its entrance. An operating manual from the Orlando FreeFall states that the maximum rider weight for the attraction was just over 286 pounds. Sampson weighed over 350 pounds.

They say the ride attendants failed to notify Tyre of any such limitations or check his restraints properly. In addition, Sampson’s parents say the ride was unsafe due to manufacturing and design defects and should have included seatbelts.

“The defendants in Tyre’s case showed negligence in a multitude of ways. One of the most glaring examples was failing to provide a $22 seatbelt on a ride that cost several million dollars to construct,” Attorney Ben Crump said a statement. “They didn’t, and their poor decisions resulted in deadly consequences for a promising young man and lifelong pain for his family.”

Attractions at ICON Park Orlando
Credit: ICON Park Orlando

After the incident, ICON Park demanded that SlingShot Group– the company that operates Orlando FreeFall– cease operations of both the FreeFall and the Orlando SlingShot. Protests have been held outside the attraction pushing for it to be taken down and the family has announced that it plans to file a lawsuit.

Ride Safety Expert Ken Martin recently told Fox Digital that someone should be criminally prosecuted in Sampson’s death investigation.

“I’m sorry. With all these circumstances, all these incidents that occurred, it’s criminal. Somebody killed Mr. Tyre Sampson,” Martin said.

Family arriving at ICON Park Orlando
Credit: ICON Park Orlando

At this time, no criminal charges have been brought forth but a police investigation is ongoing.

As the investigation is ongoing, the incident has made theme parks across the country and legislators alike to take a hard look at safety measures for Guests. In Tennessee, Dollywood closed its drop tower attraction, Drop Line, out of an abundance of caution because the ride was made by the same manufacturer that constructed Orlando FreeFall.

In addition, many Florida lawmakers are looking to make changes that would affect theme parks across the state, including Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, Legoland, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and many more.

Inside the Magic will continue to keep you updated on this investigation.

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