Father Speaks Out After Son Dies at Theme Park, Accuses Authorities of Racism

in Theme Parks

Family arriving at ICON Park Orlando

Credit: ICON Park Orlando

As we continue to be stunned by the shocking and fatal incident at an Orlando theme park, a concerned father is now speaking out.

Attractions at ICON Park Orlando
Credit: ICON Park Orlando

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As reported by The Orlando Sentinel, on Friday, a shaken Yarnell Sampson, father of Tyre Sampson, visited ICON Park in Orlando, Florida where his son died in a shocking ride accident.

“I came up here to get my peace,” said Yarnell. “I just wanted to know, did the people know that a young man actually died right here?” he said. “It blew my mind that eight out of 10 I asked didn’t know. They had no clue.”

Friends eating at ICON Park Orlando
Credit: ICON Park Orlando

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On Monday, Yarnell Sampson and other family members joined attorney Benjamin Crump, State Rep. Geraldine Thompson, and local activists, continuing their call for Orlando Free Fall to be completely torn down. The family wishes to keep Tyre’s legacy alive while remembering the tragic incident.

14-year-old Tyre Sampson tragically fell to his death on Orlando Freefall at Orlando’s ICON Park on March 24. According to a report released by law enforcement last month, the boy slipped out of his seat at the halfway mark of Orlando Freefall’s drop.

On Monday, the Orange County Medical Examiner released Sampson’s autopsy report. According to the report, Sampson weighed 383 pounds when he fell to his death. The ride has a maximum weight recommendation of 287 pounds, making Sampson 96 pounds over the limit at the time of his fatal fall.

The Wheel at ICON Park
Credit: internationaldriveorlando.com

In April, Tyre’s family filed a lawsuit against SlingShot Group, the owner of the ride as well as its landlord ICON Park, and other manufacturers and installers responsible for building the ride. The family is citing negligence.

“These companies cannot be allowed to get away with this,” said Crump. “To Slingshot Group, to ICON Park, executives, you all cannot simply sweep this under the rug as if Tyre Sampson’s death doesn’t matter. But Yarnell said Slingshot Group already has plans for another ICON Park ride.

The tragic incident has not put a stop to ride operators and owners from continuing within the theme park business, said Yarnell, adding to his statement, saying he believes that because his son was black, any kind of meaningful action is being delayed and not taken seriously. “This should be no color thing, this should be a human thing,” he said.

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