Tragedy struck 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 FreeFall, back in March.
While the investigation is still 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.
As a result, ICON Park demanded that SlingShot Group– the group that operates Orlando FreeFall– 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,” the company said. “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.”
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.
However, it seems a disturbing TikTok trend has begun to take place following the tragedy.
Social media platforms including Twitter, TikTok, and Facebook received backlash after videos of the fatal fall circulated, and now, it seems that many TikTok videos referencing his death are receiving hundreds of thousands of views.
First reported by NBC News, there are several videos circulating on the platform using the TikTok sound Labrinth’s “Formula,” which was featured in the HBO show Euphoria. The videos use the tagline “I’m livin for the thrill of it,” matching the lyrics in the song.
One video with more than 1.7 million views, begins with a blurry clip of a carnival attraction taken from a rider’s perspective. The first caption reads: “Aren’t you gonna stop going on rides after what happened to that first boy?” As the ride takes off, the camera spins with it, giving the viewer a dizzying view of the carnival down below, and shortly after, the words “I’m livin for the thrill of it” appear.
The TikTok sound originally began as a trend earlier this year and was typically used by users sharing reckless behavior. The caption would first begin with “Aren’t you scared you’re going to get caught?” and then would be followed by whatever action they wanted to share, ending with the phrase “I’m livin for the thrill of it.” Just days after Sampson’s death, many TikTokers began using the sound to reference his death.
Many creators spoke up in the face of the trend calling it insensitive and cruel.
Still, many videos remain and have garnered thousands of views on the social media platform.
Inside the Magic will continue to keep you updated on the ongoing investigation.