Investigation into 14-year-old’s death on free-fall ride continues

ORLANDO, Fla. — State investigators say it could be months before they know what exactly went wrong the night 14-year-old Tyre Sampson was killed when he fell from a free-fall ride at Icon Park.

On Monday state inspectors were back out at the park, taking measurements and trying to recreate the incident that led to the teen’s death.


Last week Nikki Fried, the commissioner of agriculture and consumer services, said there is still a lot we don’t know about the investigation.

Read: Team investigating 14-year-old’s death on free-fall ride speaks out

“We are pulling back lots of layers here, and we are not going to jump to any conclusions until the facts are known and the information is provided to us, because that would not be fair to the family,” Fried said.

A team of forensic engineers from Quest Engineering and Failure Analysis has been inspecting the ride and conducting a failure analysis to see what factors may have led to Tyre falling from the ride.

READ: Woman claiming to be related to boy who fell from ride has no ties to family, investigation shows

The initial accident report said the ride did not malfunction and that Sampson was over the weight limit set by the manufacturer.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services conducted an initial inspection of the ride in December and found no deficiencies.

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

ICON Park released the following statement:

“We commend the diligence and thoroughness that Commissioner Fried and the team at the Florida Department of Agriculture have shown as they investigate the operation of the Slingshot Group’s Orlando FreeFall ride.

“ICON Park looks forward to working with elected officials, regulators, and the amusement industry to ensure that a tragedy like this never happens again.

“As the landlord at ICON Park, our mission is to provide safe family entertainment. We rely on our tenants to be experts at what they do.

“In the interests of public safety, ICON Park has demanded that the SlingShot Group suspend not only the operation of Orlando FreeFall, but also the operation of Orlando SlingShot.”

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Shannon Butler

Shannon Butler, WFTV.com

Shannon joined the Eyewitness News team in 2013.

Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.

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