The 14-year-old boy who died falling from a theme park ride in Orlando on Thursday night has been identified as Tyre Sampson, a teen from Missouri who was on vacation with a friend’s family.
Tyre died after slipping out of his seat on the Orlando Free Fall ride at the ICON park at around 11pm. He was on vacation with his friend’s family who watched helplessly as he plummeted to the ground while the ride dropped at 75mph. He was named by police at a press conference on Friday.
A photograph of Tyre taken before the ride went into the air shows him sitting with his harness unbuckled and not pulled down to fasten in to his seat.
It is unclear if the harness was closed fully before the ride went into the air, or if the tour operator checked to ensure he was safely buckled in.
An investigation into the park is now underway. At a press conference on Friday, Orange County Sheriff John Mina said: ‘It appears to be just a terrible tragedy. We will see moving forward what that results in.’
Tyre and the rest of the group had been told moments earlier that there were no seatbelts on the ride. The only thing stopping them from falling out of their seats were plastic, pull-down harnesses which are supposed to buckle in place, in between riders’ legs.
One woman was worried about the fact there was nothing more to keep them in the seats as the ride descended and asked if there was a seatbelt to clip them in. ‘There ain’t no seatbelts,’ the ride attendant replied.
Tyre is shown, right. His harness is not buckled in this photo, taken moments before the ride went into the air, unlike the other boys. It’s unclear if he did fasten it before the ride began
Tyre Sampson, 14, died on Thursday night after falling from the ride in Orlando.
This is the ride last night that a 14-year-old boy fell from. He is now shown in these images, he was sitting on the other side of the carousel when it ascended. The ride operator is shown telling the group that there ‘ain’t seatbelts’ to hold them in, only the pull-down harnesses
A teenager has died after falling from a drop ride at ICON theme park on International Drive in Orlando, Florida just after 11pm on Thursday
The teen was taken to hospital but succumbed to his injuries, Orange County Sheriff’s Office confirmed
Close up view of the Orlando Free Fall at ICON Park on Friday, March 25, 2022 in Orlando
The ride then went up in the air and halted for around 10 seconds before dropping.
The ride is pictured on Friday, the day after the accident
The boy fell out of his seat and landed on the ground soon afterwards to the horror of the other riders.
After they were back on the ground, video shows a different park worker run over to the ride attendant and ask: ‘You didn’t check it!?’
He insisted that he had and she asked again: ‘Are you sure?’
Tyre’s family paid tribute to him on social media as a ‘gentle giant’.
His step-mother Wendy said: ‘Tyre was a respectful gentle giant.
‘You will be truly missed son,’ she said.
Park employees say they initially thought his body was a piece of the ride that had broken off until they saw the boy lying on the ground.
It’s unclear what the minimum height restriction for the ride is or how he could have fallen out of his harness.
It is the second accident at the park in two years. In 2020, a park employee died while working on the StarFlyer ride.
The teen was taken to hospital but succumbed to his injuries, Orange County Sheriff’s Office confirmed.
‘At first we thought it was a piece of the ride or whatever until we got a little closer and it was a person laying on the ground.
‘Everyone was just panicking and screaming,’ park employee Montrey Williams told FOX 35 Orlando.
The ride, the Orlando Free Fall, opened in December 2021, stands at 430ft tall and can accommodate up to 30 people.
It plunges to the ground at 75 miles per hour and rotates around a central tower as it rises.
After it reaches the top, riders tilt forward and face the ground briefly before free-falling at approximately 75 miles per hour.
It was not immediately clear how the teenager became free from the ride’s seat belt or how many people were on the tower at the time.
ICON Park on International Drive has not yet commented on the tragedy.
A 21-year-old worker was performing a safety inspection on the StarFlyer ride in Orlando on September 14 when he fell 200 feet to his death
Police have opened an investigation into the incident.
In September 2020, Icon park employee Jacob Kaminsky died while trying to fix another ride at the park
‘And this is why we’re doing this investigation. We are working with those people investigating at this point.’
It comes less than two years after a park employee died after falling 200 feet from the Orlando StarFlyer attraction.
The 21-year-old employee was performing a safety check about halfway up the 450-foot-tall ride when he plummeted to his death just before 8am on September 14 2020.
The worker struck a platform below the ride at ICON Park on International Drive in Orlando and went into cardiac arrest, according to first responders who were called to the scene.
The man was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead from his injuries.
The swing ride opened to the public in 2018.
According to the description on the attraction’s official site, StarFlyer has no age limit and no weight limit, and the minimum height required to go on the ride is just 44 inches.
The ride is made up of 24 double seats that travel up and down and around the giant tower for 3-4 minutes.