Orange County

‘Meaningful change’: Orlando FreeFall ride to be taken down following Tyre Sampson’s death

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orlando FreeFall ride at ICON Park will be taken down, the ride’s owners announced Thursday morning.

Tyre Sampson, 14, died March 24 after falling from the ride.

An investigation determined that he exceeded the ride’s weight limit by more than 100 pounds and that the ride had been tampered with, causing his safety harness to appear as if it were fully closed even though it was not.


“We are devastated by Tyre’s death. We have listened to the wishes of Tyre’s family and the community, and have made the decision to take down the FreeFall,” said Ritchie Armstrong, Orlando SlingShot Group’s CEO.

Armstrong said the company will also be creating a scholarship in Tyre’s name. He said the timeline for taking the ride down has not been determined.

A decision will be made after conversations are had with all parties involved, including attorneys and Orange County government officials.

Read: Safety expert: ‘I have serious concerns’ about harness in teen’s death on Orlando FreeFall

ICON Park said it supports the decision to take down the ride.

“Tyre’s death is a tragedy that we will never forget. As the landlord, ICON Park welcomes and appreciates Orlando Slingshot’s decision to take down the ride,” ICON Park said.

Attorney Kimberly Wald, who represents Tyre’s mother, said there remains a long road ahead.

Read: 9 things to know about the Orlando FreeFall at ICON Park

“Nikia’s entire purpose in this is to make a change and to make meaningful change,” Wald said. “That’s what we’re doing. We’ve made one great step in that right direction. And we want to make sure that not only this ride is being shut down, but that it’s not being moved to some other location or anything like that.”

Wald said that they have been working with lawmakers to strengthen some of the safety regulations for Florida’s amusement park rides.

Scroll below to watch a previous interview with Tyre’s mother.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.

Jason Kelly

Jason Kelly,

Jason Kelly joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2014. He serves as the station's Digital Executive Producer.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson,

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.