Live photos by TMJ journalist @zainabrights on scene at the freefall thrill ride in ICON park. The ride has closed indefinitely after a 14 year old boy, Tyre Sampson, was killed after he fell to his death from the ride last Thursday.
This comes after the ride has been in operations for just a couple months in the attraction park at the heart of Orlando, Florida. This brand new installation opened up only four months ago December 2021.
Many tourists gather and pay their respects as they pass by the area, a memorial laid for the victim with balloons, candles and stuffed animals.
A new investigation by the state has found that Sampson’s seat was locked as the ride descended down. Questions have risen if the victim was too large to ride weighing 340 lbs, while the riders manual indicates the maximum passenger weight is approximately 287 pounds. He was turned down from riding the SlingShot and the swing but was allowed to get on this ride, operators not asking or checking his weight.
The harrowing incident was captured on video showing Sampson falling 5 seconds into the ride. The ride takes the passenger 400 ft off the ground and then throws itself down a couple hundred feet.
ICON park has asked the SlingShot group to suspend its other ride at the park until the investigation is complete for public safety.
Even as strangers walk toward the memorial, it is easy to feel connected to Tyre Sampson, a beloved son, rising football athlete, honor roll student and from the words on several posters, a kind person who cared for his community.
Photos and article by @zainabrights
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