ICON Park calls for FreeFall, SlingShot rides to suspend operations following teen’s death

ORLANDO, Fla. — ICON Park is demanding that the SlingShot Group, which owns the Orlando FreeFall where a 14-year-old fell to his death last week, suspend operations of both the drop tower and the Orlando SlingShot effective immediately until the attractions are proven to be safe by officials, according to a news release.

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Tyre Sampson, a 14-year-old visiting Orlando from Missouri for spring break, died Thursday. Witnesses told Channel 9 that Sampson slipped beneath a safety harness when the ride came to a halt.

“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,” a news release stated. “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. "

READ: Dollywood closes drop ride after deadly incident on similar attraction at Orlando’s ICON Park

ICON Park, is continuing to fully cooperate with the ongoing investigation, the news release states.

According to a fair rides written accident report filed Thursday with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the FreeFall ride was coming down the tower. When the magnets engaged, Sampson came out of the seat. The harness was still in a “down and locked position” when the ride stopped, according to the report.

Read the full accident report below:

A 177-page operations and maintenance manual of FreeFall from Funtime, the Austrian manufacturer of the ride, outlines rider restrictions. It states that there is “no minimum weight except physical size, which may prevent the guest from properly being secured by the seat and restraint.”

The maximum passenger weight is 130 kg, or almost 287 pounds, according to the manual. Based on what Sampson’s father has told media, his son was over that weight limit.

Riders must also be at least around 50 inches to ride “for proper fitting of the restraint and seat belts,” the manual states.

There is no age restriction for the ride. Guests are to be in good mental and physical condition, “specifically not under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” the manual reads.

Under the ride manual’s safety section, it states FreeFall was designed to be safe, however, “human errors or deviation from the design and operation could result in injuries.”

Rider operators must go through corporate-mandated training and a certification program including proper documentation, the manual states.

Read the full manual below:

According to documents from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences Division of Consumer Services/Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection, both FreeFall and Slingshot were up to code during their inspection in December.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.