TIMELINE: 14-year-old boy dies after falling from ICON Park free fall ride

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A 14-year-old boy died Thursday night after falling from the “Free Fall” amusement ride at ICON Park in Orlando, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said.

Read live updates on the investigation below:

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11 p.m. update

ICON Park has issued an updated statement regarding the tragic death of 14-year-old Tyre Sampson on OrlandoFreeFall.

“Tonight, the ICON Park family is grieving because of the tragedy involving Tyre Sampson. Our heartfelt thoughts are with his family and friends,” the statement reads. “ICON Park is committed to being a place where families can spend quality time together in a safe and fun space. We are in close coordination and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and regulators.”

A Statement from ICON Park: Tonight, the ICON Park family is grieving because of the tragedy involving Tyre Sampson....

Posted by ICON Park on Friday, March 25, 2022


9 p.m. update

The father of the 14-year-old boy who died Thursday night on the Orlando FreeFall is speaking out.

On Friday, the day after 14-year-old Tyre Sampson fell to his death, crews were inspecting the ride again and testing the seats. Workers were walking from chair to chair, checking the shoulder restraints.

Sampson’s father Yarnell Sampson told CNN, “The grief behind this is not worth it.”

“And the pain behind it could never be taken away and sorry is not gonna take it back,” he said. “And no monies, no nothing in the world could replace that young man. And it’s just sad, it’s sad. a young man’s bright future was taken away from him over a ride, an amusement park thing. But hey, he was having fun, he was enjoying himself until the end.”

READ: Documents shed light on inspections and construction of Orlando free fall ride

Samspon said hearing the news “felt like somebody hit me so hard in my stomach.”

“I just lost wind,” he said. “And the pain behind it could never be taken away, and sorry’s not gonna take it back and no monies, no nothing in the world to replace the young man. And it’s just sad, a young man’s bright future was taken away from him over a ride, an amusement park.”

7:05 p.m. update

Rides like the Orlando FreeFall — where a teenager tragically fell to his death — are subjected to inspections by the state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The department is responsible for inspecting all amusement park rides in Florida, except for those at large parks that have more than 1,000 employees and full-time employees.

The free fall thrill ride had only been in operation for a few months before the tragedy. The state was required to inspect it before opening. It passed its inspection in December 2021, when the ride opened.

Read more here.

5:30 p.m. update

Witnesses told Channel 9 that Tyre Sampson slipped beneath a safety harness when the ride came to a halt.

Read: Boy, 14, dies after falling from FreeFall ride at ICON Park in Orlando

They said he hit a safety fence before landing on the ground.

Photos: Investigation underway at ICON Park after boy dies following fall from Orlando FreeFall

Emergency dispatchers asked bystanders to provide the boy CPR, but witnesses said it was already too late.

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4 p.m. update

People who knew Tyre Sampson said he was visiting Orlando for spring break when he fell from the ride at about 11 p.m. Thursday.

Investigators were seen Friday afternoon taking measurement of the chair in which Tyre was seated.

The ride, which opened in December, is 430 feet tall and reaches a maximum speed of 75 mph. Its website said it is the world’s largest free-standing drop tower.

It is unknown for how long the ride will be closed. Similar rides in the area remained open Friday.


2 p.m. update

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings provided Channel 9 with the following statement Friday afternoon:

“I offer my deepest condolences for the family of the 14-year-old boy who died following the tragic incident at ICON Park. I look to receive more information about what happened in the incident and what will be done to prevent it from ever happening again. The Florida Department of Agriculture and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office investigations will bring clarity to the circumstances and next steps.”

State officials are currently inspecting the ride. Click here to stream live video.


1 p.m. update

The death of a 14-year-old boy who fell from the FreeFall ride at Orlando’s ICON Park “appears to be just a terrible tragedy,” Orange County Sheriff John Mina said during a news conference Friday afternoon.

The boy, Tyre Sampson, was visiting from Missouri with another family, Mina said.

“We cant imagine the pain and anguish that his family is going through,” he said. “Our prayers and our thought are with the family.”

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has made grief counselors available to Tyree’s family.

Mina said detectives have spoken with all witnesses and employees who were there when the boy fell from the ride. He said the investigation remains open.

Mina said the ride has a large locking device placed over each rider, but he is not aware of a seat belt.

There were no reports of any issues with the ride, he said.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is also investigating the death.



11:50 a.m. update

The Orange County sheriff is set to discuss the investigation into the death of a 14-year-old boy who died after falling from an amusement ride at ICON Park in Orlando.

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Sheriff John Mina is scheduled to give a news conference at 12:30 p.m. on Friday.

Deputies responded to ICON Park along the 8400 block of International Drive shortly after 11 p.m., after receiving a 911 emergency call reporting that someone had fallen from the park’s FreeFall ride.

READ: Deputies: Boy, 14, dies after falling from FreeFall ride at ICON Park

Deputies said a 14-year-old boy was transported to the hospital, where he died from his injuries.

“OCSO extends its deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the young man who died after a fall from the Orlando FreeFall attraction,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Photos: Investigation underway at ICON Park after boy dies following fall from Orlando FreeFall

Investigators said the death investigation remains in its early stages.

Channel 9 reporter Shannon Butler is gathering details at the news conference. Stream the update live here when it happens.

Stay tuned to Channel 9 Eyewitness News for live updates.

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Jason Kelly

Jason Kelly, WFTV.com

Jason Kelly joined WFTV in 2014.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.