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.
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.
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.”
As if the tragedy was not enough, another woman then lied to be related to the victim to try and turn a profit.
Shay Johnson was at the forefront of vigil efforts outside the Orlando FreeFall ride and claimed to be the cousin of Sampson. She collected signatures for a petition and even held news conferences to speak about the tragedy that unfolded at ICON Park. The only problem is that no one in the family had ever heard of her.
An investigation confirmed that Johnson had no ties to the family.
WFTV reported that Johnson was fired from an adult-entertainment club in Orlando, according to a statement from the club.
A report from Wionn News says that Johnson, whose real name is Lewishena Brown, had attempted to set up a GoFundMe page for phony collections for the family. She’s apparently not the only one either, as several GoFundMe pages claiming to be to benefit the family’s funeral expenses have been taken down after being proven as fake.
Now, it seems that the family is claiming hip hop artist YK Osiris, who offered to pay for the funeral, never sent the money and only made the statement for “clout”. It is reported that:
Osiris, 23, whose real name is Osiris Williams, responded over the weekend by reportedly posting a screen shot of a donation of $15,000 he made to a Go Fund Me set up for Sampson’s family, but Sampson’s brother took to social media and wrote, “YK Osiri or whatever dude name is cancelled. Used lil bro for pure clout. Didn’t pay a dime but told the world otherwise,” according to News 4 Jax.
The station said Sampson’s brother also claimed Osiris, whose real name is Osiris Williams, faked the screen shot of the donation to the Go Fund Me.
New 4 Jax said that Sampson’s mother, Nekia Dodd, responded to Sampson’s brother’s post about Osiris writing, “And he blocked me on IG too!”
Osiris reportedly also shared a post that explains why it may take several days for a Go Fund Me donation to appear in the account.
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.
Inside the Magic will continue to update this ongoing story.