The tragedy of 14-year-old Tyre Sampson sent shockwaves through the theme park world several weeks ago.
The 14-year-old tragically fell from his seat while riding the Orlando FreeFall back in March and, 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.
Despite the ride being shut down indefinitely, several protests have been held outside the attraction pushing for it to be taken down and demolished.
Tina Wilson, founder of the Juneteenth Project Coalition, helped organize the latest protest this week with allies and organization members. The group called out ICON Park CEO Chris Jaskiewicz asking him to break the lease with SlingShot Group. At this point, the lease still remains intact between ICON Park and SlingShot Group.
Wilson said she was numb after the incident and that “someone needs to be held accountable.”
“Dismantle it. Sell it for scrap,” Wilson said. “Get it out of our community because a child died. We want you to be responsible.”
A petition to tear down the ride has gained traction with thousands of signatures, but there have been no updates on the attraction’s future as of yet.
Because of the tragedy, many theme park Guests have shared their uncertainty about visiting amusement parks. Whether it be a Disney Park, Universal Studios Florida, or any other theme park across the nation, it seems that there is a group of theme park goers who are a little wary about getting on rides they’ve tabbed to be “dangerous.”
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.
What do you think of the advice given by theme park ride safety experts? Let us know in the comments!